Solicitor General’s Paraphrase of Prince v. Massachusetts

March 25th, 2014

In Hobby Lobby, the Solicitor General led off with a quotation by Justice Jackson from Prince v. Massachusetts.

The touchstone for resolving this case is the principle Justice Jackson articulated in Prince v. Massachusetts. As he said, “Limitations which of necessity bound religious freedom begin to operate whenever activities begin to affect or collide with the liberties of others or of the public. Adherence to that principle is what makes possible the harmonious functioning of a society like ours, in which people of every faith live and work side by side.”

That’s pretty close, but not exactly right.

Our basic difference seems to be as to the method of establishing limitations which of necessity bound religious freedom. My own view may be shortly put: I think the limits begin to operate whenever activities begin to affect or collide with liberties of others or of the public.

So the second sentence was Verrilli’s not Jackson’s. ¬†And he eliminated a few words in the middle.

Verrilli has a fantastic memory. You’ll recall that during NFIB v. Sebelius (Day 2), he choked after water went down the wrong pipe. Yet he managed to resume his opening statement, verbatim, as he had before he took a pause.