Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Re: Mistaking a Defense for a Crusade

To follow-up on my post yesterday on Linda Greenhouse’s latest effort to stigmatize defense of religious liberty as a “religious crusade,” I’d also like to highlight this curious passage of hers:

I’ve been fascinated that some liberal commentators found the dissenting opinions persuasive and the case a close one. I understand the impulse not to appear unduly antagonistic toward religion, but I think that generosity toward the religious claim here loses sight of the broader context in which the dissenting justices were writing.

As her link shows, Greenhouse is expressing her disagreement with Vox’s Ian Millhiser, who, as I pointed out in my initial post on the Calvary Chapel order, found Justice Alito’s dissent to be “unusually persuasive.” Millhiser’s legal analysis of the case is much more thorough and better reasoned than Greenhouse’s, yet she disparages it as driven by an “impulse not to appear unduly antagonistic toward religion” (an impulse no one would ever accuse Greenhouse of having). Indeed, her statement that she is “fascinated” by it seems to put Millhiser’s analysis beyond the realm of the normal. Almost as if Greenhouse is trying to patrol the boundaries of liberal commentary.


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