New Case Book on Religion and the Supreme Court by Green

The College of Law is pleased to announce the release of Religious Freedom and the Supreme Court by Professor Steven K. Green. Published by Baylor University Press (2008), Religious Freedom and the Supreme Court is a comprehensive casebook on the First Amendment religion clauses and includes extensive background and explanatory materials.

According to Green, the publisher asked him to co-write the text in 2003, alongside Professors Ronald B. Flowers of Texas Christian University and Melissa Rogers of Wake Forest University. “Baylor University Press had published the first case book on church and state issues, but the last edition was out of print and severely out of date,” Green said. “Baylor wanted a completely new book rather than a revision of the previous editions.”

Green developed a new organizational scheme for the book — a topical consideration of cases, narratives and documents under the overarching topics of free exercise of religion and non-establishment of religion. The first four chapters contain historical and other background material. Within each topical chapter, cases and other materials are considered chronologically. The book also includes discussions on likely trends and developments in church-state law.

“Once the organization was set, we divided writing responsibility for the various 23 chapters among the three authors,” Green explained. “We were all engaged in teaching and other writing commitments, so the case editing and writing took more than three years to complete.”

Religious Freedom and the Supreme Court was written primarily for students with little familiarity with the case method, but the text is appropriate for law school classes as well. The text covers a wide range of church-state controversies that frequently make their way to the courts, including faith healing, animal sacrifice, prayer and Bible reading in schools, the teaching of evolution and creationism, the public funding of religious schooling and faith-based charities, government use of religious symbols and discourse, clergy malpractice, tax exemptions for religious entities, and a host of other topics.

“All of these issues have constitutional implications that arise from interpretations of the First Amendment's religion and free expression clauses,” Green said. “An additional hope is that students will gain an appreciation of our history — of why our country’s founders believed issues of religious liberty and separation of church and state were so important.”