Presentation on theme: "By: Cole Reardon. Establishment Clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Free Exercise Clause: “[Congress shall."— Presentation transcript:
By: Cole Reardon
Establishment Clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Free Exercise Clause: “[Congress shall make no law] prohibiting the free exercise [of religion].”
Scenario: A father and son Mormon duo were handing out pro- Mormon material in a predominantly Roman-Catholic neighborhood in Connecticut. The result being Catholic reaction to the anti-Catholic opinion being distributed in the Mormon message. Question Presented in Case: “Did the solicitation statute or the "breach of the peace" ordinance violate the Cantwells' First Amendment free speech or free exercise rights?” Court Conclusion: Unanimously the Court held that, though general restrictions on solicitation were legitimate, restrictions based solely on religious ground were not. Due to the current statue being based upon the interpretation of local officials as to whether causes were religious or not, it violated the First Amendment. Impact: Policy concerning the interpretation of a cause as religious or non- religious could no longer be implemented without a violation of the First Amendment.
Scenario: New Jersey passed a law allowing a reimbursement of money to parents whose children were transported to school through the public transit system. Those attending Catholic schools qualified for this subsidy alongside those attending public schools. Question Presented in Case: “Did the New Jersey statute violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as made applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment?” Court Conclusion: Divided, the court held that the law did not violate the Constitution due to transportation and the necessity of such being so far removed from the religious function. Impact: Policy could now extend into provisions for private, religiously oriented schools as long as it neither furthered nor degraded the religion affiliated with such.
Scenario: So as to settle the controversial issue without putting the burden on local communities, The Board of Regents for the State of New York authorized the recitation of a short prayer at the beginning of each school day. Question Presented in Case: “Does the reading of a nondenominational prayer at the start of the school day violate the ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment?” Court Conclusion: Unanimously, the court decided that any implementation of mandatory religious activity was in violation of the establishment clause. Essentially, by authorizing the prayer, the State of New York had officially approved religion, something which is directly prohibited by the First Amendment. Impact: This ruling gave greater weight to the establishment clause, and, by doing so, ensured the use of precedent in ensuring the elimination of traditional religious activities as part of public activities.
Scenario: Pennsylvania passed a law which allowed the State Superintendent to reimburse the salaries of teachers who taught secular material. This law extended to allow the reimbursement of Catholic School teachers as well. Question Presented in Case: “Did the Rhode Island and Pennsylvania statutes violate the First Amendment's Establishment Clause by making state financial aid available to ‘church-related educational institutions’?”. Court Conclusion: In a unanimous decision of 8-0, the Supreme Court found that the creation of a law allowing financial aid to church-related educational institutions. The court also found that it was in violation of the Establishment Cause for a school system to provide an incentive to decrease or inhibit the religious teachings of a private school. Impact: This case created the “lemon test” for policy concerning religion. A government’s actions must have a secular purpose. A government’s actions ought not either inhibit nor advance any religions. A government’s actions must not create “unessesery entanglement” between the institution responsible for carrying out policy and the religious institution it affects.
Scenario: Alfred Smith and Galen Black were fired due to their use of the hallucinogenic substance mescaline in the form of peyote. After loosing their jobs they were denied unemployment benefits due to the nature of their release being coherent with a violation of state and local law. The only question in this matter arises when it is brought to order that Smith and Black were using peyote as sacrament under the Native American Church. Question Presented in Case: “Can a state deny unemployment benefits to a worker fired for using prohibited drugs for religious purposes?” Court Conclusion: The Court ruled in favor of the Employment Division in the context that the Oregon law in question didn’t define the illegality of peyote on religious grounds. Impact: It is now possible to decrease the religious freedoms of an individual by directing policy outlawing aspects of the religion while not particularly working against the religion itself and thus violate the establishment clause.
Scenario: The American Civil Liberties Union sued three Kentucky counties in federal district courts for displaying the Ten Commandments in public schools and courts, and, as such, violating the Establishment Clause. Question(s) Presented in Case: “Do Ten Commandments displays in public schools and in courthouses violate the First Amendment's establishment clause, which prohibits government from passing laws ‘respecting an establishment of religion’?” and “Was a determination that the displays' purpose had been to advance religion sufficient for the displays' invalidation?”. Court Conclusion: Yes to both questions. In a 5-4 ruling the court found it in violation of the Establishment Clause to display the Ten Commandments in a public space as it would have created a scenario in which an observer could conclude by such means that the government in charge of this public space supported the religion specified. In other words, I was decided that such monuments were placed to advance a specific religion. Impact: Public institutions may no longer carry or be affiliated with monuments that depict the advancement of anything beyond a secular religious attitude.
This cartoon shows the decision reached in the Employment Division v. Smith ruling in which it was decided that illegal activity may be prosecuted outside of its connection to religion.
This cartoon comments on the decision made in the McCreary County v. ACLU decision in which the Supreme Court ruled that no monument could be placed for the specific purpose of furthering the proliferation of a certain religion.