Galloway and several other residents filed a lawsuit complaining that his freedom of religious expression was violated by his town, Greece in New York, because the town board regularly began its meetings with a Christian-faith based prayer. The Court ruled in favor of the town holding that town boards may start their meetings with sectarian prayers, and do not have to make undue efforts to represent all the faiths. The Court held that the First Amendment was not violated. This Court’s ruling is similar to the 1983 holding that Nebraska Legislature's practice of starting its sessions with a prayer, saying the practice was "deeply embedded in the history and tradition of this country."
On Death Penalty, Hall v. Florida
In reviewing Hall’s lawsuit against the State of Florida on his complaints about the death penalty, the Court rejected Florida's I.Q. cutoff as too rigid to decide which mentally disabled people must be spared the death penalty. This holding was a follow-up to Court’s 2002 holding that banned the execution of the mentally disabled but left the determination largely to the states.
On Abortion Protests, McCullen v. Coakley
Ruling in favor of McCullen who filed a lawsuit against the State of Massachusetts (which was defended by the attorney-general, Martha Coakley, the Court held that the size of the buffer zones around abortion clinics in Massachusetts violated the First Amendment because they was too large and there was no evidence of any violence on the part of the protesters. This holding is a sharp departure from its 2000 ruling when it held that similar buffer zones in Colorado were legal. Obviously, the Court is not sympathetic to prevention of protests at abortion clinics.
Overall, the Court appears to have demonstrated a modest conservative leaning in ruling on social issues and the outcomes were fairly predictable.