Posted May 20, 2014 12:10 pm CDT
A dissent by Justice Elena Kagan in the Supreme Court’s town-meeting prayer case has been revised to correct a historical error.
Kagan’s dissent argued that “chaplain of the month” prayers before town meetings were unconstitutional because they were primarily sectarian and the town did not reach out to non-Christians. She referred to George Washington’s visit to the Jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island, and his acknowledgement that government grants the “immunities of citizenship” to both Christians and Jews. Kagan began the story this way:
“In 1790, George Washington traveled to Newport, Rhode Island, a longtime bastion of religious liberty and the home of the first community of American Jews.”
The error, according to Tablet, was that New Amsterdam, rather than Newport, was the first community of American Jews. The Law Blog and Tablet have the corrected version:
“In 1790, George Washington traveled to Newport, Rhode Island, a longtime bastion of religious liberty and the home of one of the first communities of American Jews.”