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The Bloating of the Constitution: Equality and the US Establishment Clause

  • Marc O. DeGirolami

Abstract

The US Establishment Clause is in disorder. There are currently at least six different approaches to interpreting the ‘establishment’ component of the First Amendment injunction that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof… ” (US Constitution, Amendment 1). Tests of church-state separation, non-coercion, secularity, historical practice, non-endorsement and neutrality all have been used by the Supreme Court at one time or another across a broad panoply of cases. Sometimes two or more of these tests have been squeezed together within a single case, with implied reassurances that the result does not really depend upon the test anyway. At levels below the Supreme Court, this sort of doctrinal bricolage is often only prudent self-protective practice by judges compelled by the Court’s opacity to hedge their bets.

Keywords

Religious Group Religious School Fourteenth Amendment Worship Service Free Exercise 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Marc O. DeGirolami 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marc O. DeGirolami

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