As a nation that values and guarantees religious freedom, the United States is often faced with questions regarding the public display of religious symbols. Such questions have arisen in a number of Supreme Court cases, involving both Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause issues. Since 1984, the Court has considered the constitutionality of the display of religious symbols such as a creche, a menorah, and a cross in public areas. The Court has also considered the constitutionality of Air Force regulations that prohibited a clinical psychologist from wearing a yarmulke. Parallel to the Supreme Court cases, a number of federal and state courts have been faced with cases involving the display of religious symbols in the courtroom. These cases also include Establishment Clause issues, relating to a court's display of symbols such as the Ten Commandments, as well as Free Exercise Clause issues, involving the rights of parties, witnesses, and attorneys to dress in religious garb in the courtroom. At the same time, these courts have often considered the potential for juror prejudice that may result from the display of religious symbols in the courtroom. Levine surveys and analyzes the decisions courts have reached in addressing these issues. Part I of the Article discusses the rights of parties to wear religious garb in the courtroom. Despite some notable exceptions, most courts have protected this right, finding that it would not unduly interfere with courtroom decorum or improperly prejudice a jury. Part II observes that, in contrast, courts have not been as willing to protect the rights of witnesses and attorneys to dress in religious garb in the courtroom. Part III discusses the display of religious symbols in courtrooms, and the different approaches courts have employed in considering this issue, in light of Establishment Clause questions as well as potential juror prejudice. This Article concludes with the hope that courts will have the wisdom to issue judgments that carefully balance the competing interests in a way that protects both the value of religious freedom and the values of fairness and equality
66 Fordham L. Rev. 1505 (1997-1998).
66 Fordham L. Rev. 1505