John Breen’s Critique of Linda Greenhouse’s Argument that Pro-Life Laws Violate the Establishment Clause

Here is a link to an excellent post by John Breen. Breen’s post critiques a recent piece in the New York Times by Linda Greenhouse arguing that pro-life laws violate the Establishment Clause. This argument was also made by the Justice Stevens, who passed away yesterday at the age of 99. Here is a link to a short article of mine critiquing Stevens’ view.

Here is the conclusion of Breen’s post–

“In the end, Greenhouse’s op-ed (like Stevens’ opinions in Thornburgh and Webster) is founded on the mere accusation of religious establishment.  She points to a policy position with which she disagrees (a position supported by some overtly religious people) and then cries “Establishment Clause!”  This is not the music of constitutional argument, but the shrill voice of someone desperate to hold on to power.

Archibald Cox once said of brief writing that “a good brief marches, and a great brief marches and sings.”  The claim that pro-life legal measures violate the Establishment Clause stumbles and wails because those who employ it never demonstrate the religiosity of the laws they would strike down.  This tired, old song should come to an end.”

Richard Myers

Richard S. Myers, the Vice-President of UFL, is Professor of Law at Ave Maria School of Law, where he teaches Antitrust, Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, and Religious Freedom. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Kenyon College and earned his law degree at Notre Dame, where he won the law school's highest academic prize. He began his legal career by clerking for Judge John F. Kilkenny of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Professor Myers also worked for Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue in Washington, D.C. He taught at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law before joining the Ave Maria faculty. He is a co-editor of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Natural Law Tradition: Contemporary Perspectives (Catholic University of American Press, 2004) and a co-editor of Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy (Scarecrow Press, 2007). He has also published extensively on constitutional law in law reviews and also testified before Congressional and state legislative hearings on life issues. Married to Mollie Murphy, who is also on the faculty at Ave Maria School of Law, they are the proud parents of six children - Michael, Patrick, Clare, Kathleen, Matthew, and Andrew.