Unformatted text preview: Establishment Clause: Matters of History and Meaning Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptist Association--1802 [Reader, page 162] "religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God...." 1st Amendment intended to create "a wall of separation between church and state." Public Assistance to Parochial Schools
Everson v. Board of Education (1947)
[Reader, pp. 163167] Case involved NJ law that allowed school districts to reimburse parents for bus fares incurred in sending kids to Catholic schools Justice Black: ... what "establishment" means; Does law violate Establishment Clause? NO (54) Significance of Everson Court applied Establishment Clause to the states via 14th Due Process Clause Uses "child benefit" rationale to uphold law Justice Rutledge's dissent: "only by observing the prohibition rigidly [can] state maintain its neutrality...." Religious activities and public aid to religion?? Religious Activities in Public Schools 1948Court struck down religious instruction in Champaign, IL public schools 1952Court upheld released time program in NYC schools; Justice Douglas: "we are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being." Warren Court and Religious Activities
[Reader, pp. 167170] Involved New York state nondenominational prayer at beginning of school day Does recitation of prayer violate 1st Amendment? YES (61) Justice Black: "...government... should stay out of the business of writing or sanctioning official prayers...." Engel v. Vitale (1962) School Prayer and the Burger & Rehnquist Courts Court struck down "momentofsilence law in Alabama; religious purpose Wallace v. Jaffree (1985) 1992Court struck down graduation prayers in Providence, RI. Justice Kennedy: "...Gov't may not coerce anyone to support or participate in religion or its exercise." Lee v. Weisman (1992) [question of equal access to public schools] Good News Club v. Milford Central School (2001) Involved religious clubs affiliated with Child Evangelism Fellowship; group was denied access to school facilities Does Establishment Clause require schools to bar religious clubs from meeting after hours at school? NO (63)
Justice Thomas: Club "seeks nothing more than to be treated neutrally and given access." Public Assistance Reprised: Rulings in 1980s/90s upheld gov't. neutrality and accommodation perspectives 1983Court allowed $700 tuition tax credits in MN.; no violation of Establishment Clause 1997Agostini v. Felton 1997 Court held that NY program that allowed public money to be used for secular programs in parochial schools did not violate Establishment Clause Mitchell v. Helms (2000) Involved fed. law that allowed use of public funds for Internet access Can religious schools participate in gov't. program that lends computer technology and library books to secular schools? YES Justice Thomas for 63 Court: "...no basis for concluding that ...program has the effect of advancing religion." Locke v. Davey (2004)
[Brief 18.7, page 466] Case involved divinity student who was denied scholarship aid in Washington state; Does denial of funds on Establishment grounds violate Free Exercise Clause? NO CJ Rehnquist (72) State's interest in not funding devotional degrees is substantial; only a minor burden on students applying for aid Some Conclusions on Religious Liberty Can be difficult to reconcile both religion clauses How to define "establishment" of religion Different theories about how best to preserve religious liberty Coercion and conformity conflict with freedom of conscience Democracies should be able to tolerate social and cultural diversity What type of democracy are we trying to sustain-- liberal democracy or tribal democracy? Tensions will persist; efforts to reconcile them must be made ...
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This note was uploaded on 05/11/2008 for the course PSC 2302 taught by Professor Dr.riley during the Spring '08 term at Baylor.
- Spring '08