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Listen to Justice Souter rail at the majority conservative bloc in Zellman

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usregimechange Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 02:54 PM
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Listen to Justice Souter rail at the majority conservative bloc in Zellman
The majoritys statements of Establishment Clause doctrine cannot be appreciated without some historical perspective on the Courts announced limitations on government aid to religious education, and its repeated repudiation of limits previously set. My object here is not to give any nuanced exposition of the cases, which I tried to classify in some detail in an earlier opinion, see Mitchell v. Helms, 530 U.S. 793, 873899 (2000) (dissenting opinion), but to set out the broad doctrinal stages covered in the modern era, and to show that doctrinal bankruptcy has been reached today.

Viewed with the necessary generality, the cases can be categorized in three groups. In the period from 1947 to 1968, the basic principle of no aid to religion through school benefits was unquestioned. Thereafter for some 15 years, the Court termed its efforts as attempts to draw a line against aid that would be divertible to support the religious, as distinct from the secular, activity of an institutional beneficiary. Then, starting in 1983, concern with divertibility was gradually lost in favor of approving aid in amounts unlikely to afford substantial benefits to religious schools, when offered evenhandedly without regard to a recipients religious character, and when channeled to a religious institution only by the genuinely free choice of some private individual. Now, the three stages are succeeded by a fourth, in which the substantial character of government aid is held to have no constitutional significance, and the espoused criteria of neutrality in offering aid, and private choice in directing it, are shown to be nothing but examples of verbal formalism.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/00-1751.ZD1.html


President Obama we can not afford to further erode the liberal wing of the court, with it would go not just the balance of the court but the soul of the country.
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