Amicus Brief Supporting the “Gruesome Images” Petition, from Religion Clauses Scholars

The third amicus brief supporting our Scott v. Saint John’s Church in the Wilderness cert petition is the amicus brief of Religion Clauses scholars — Salam Al-Marayti (Muslim Public Affairs Council) and Profs. Michael Ariens (St. Mary’s), Thomas Berg (St. Thomas), Zachary Calo (Valparaiso), Bob Destro (Catholic), Carl Esbeck (Missouri), Marie Failinger (Hamline), Edward Gaffney (Valparaiso), Richard Garnett (Notre Dame), Douglas Kmiec (Pepperdine), Faisal Kutty (Valparaiso), Michael Stokes Paulsen (St. Thomas), Michael Perry (Emory), Richard Stith (Valparaiso), and Lynn Wardle (BYU); Edward Gaffney wrote the brief.

Among other things, this brief makes the argument that content-based restrictions on speech in traditional public fora (such as sidewalks) remain unconstitutional outside churches, and that while there may be good manners reasons and strategic reasons for critics to avoid harsh speech outside churches, the First Amendment does not allow government-imposed limits on such speech.