The Atlantic

The Religious-Liberty Claim the Justices Didn’t Want to Hear

If the free-exercise clause allows you not to bake and sell a cake, maybe it should also allow you to have an imam at your own execution.
Source: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

On Thursday night, the Supreme Court, by a vote of 5–4, allowed the Alabama state prison in Atmore to execute Domineque Ray, a convert to Islam, by lethal injection for the 1995 rape and murder of 15-year-old Tiffany Harville, and the murders of two brothers. He died alone. He was denied his request to have his imam, Yusef Maisonet, by his side.

Reading the majority’s decision, I kept asking myself, How would these five justices have responded if all the facts were the same but Ray were a Christian and the imam were a priest? Would they have decided to ? That appellate court stated, “It looks substantially likely to us that Alabama has run afoul of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.” That’s the clause that prohibits” to a devout Muslim such as Ray, and all other non-Christians.

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