Stephen Ranalow, Bearing a Constitutional Cross: Examining Blasphemy and the Judicial Role in Corway v. Independent Newspapers, 3 Trinity C. L. Rev. 95 (2000)
Ranalow's article examines the 1999 Corway decision, in which the Supreme Court of Ireland determined that it could not give effect to the reference to blasphemy in the Constitution because the crime had not been adequately defined. Ranalow notes that the provision "is something of a constitutional oddity" (p. 95), but states that "the decision marks both a significant and unjustified break from the Supreme Court's creative tradition." (p. 96) Ranalow argues that major English cases like Ramsay and Foote and Bowman shifted the purpose of blasphemy prohibitions from a religious one (protecting the established church) to a secular one (preventing religious offence), and that those cases and other sources in Irish history are sufficient to allow the court to legitimately hold that the crime of blasphemy has an understood meaning in Irish common law. Thus, Ranalow states that "the Supreme Court's refusal to clarify blasphemy on the grounds of uncertainty is unconvincing." (p. 100) He attributes the Court's decision to a reluctance to become involved in a political controversy that would involve expenditure of limited capital for no practical benefit. So although Ranalow does not necessarily support the existence of blasphemy laws, he concludes that "the Supreme Court in Corway had both the means and the obligation to define this crime."