The Law of Church and State: U.S. Supreme Court Decisions Since 2002

Some background on the Congressional Research Service and Open CRS:

American taxpayers spend nearly $100 million a year to fund the Congressional Research Service, a “think tank” that provides reports to members of Congress on a variety of topics relevant to current political events. Yet, these reports are not made available to the public in a way that they can be easily obtained. A project of the Center for Democracy & Technology, Open CRS provides citizens access to CRS Reports that are already in the public domain and encourages Congress to provide public access to all CRS Reports.

One of the reports that was released to little fanfare was called
The Law of Church and State: U.S. Supreme Court Decisions Since 2002.”

It’s a short, easy-to-read recap of the major recent Supreme Court cases dealing with state/church separation. (Many of the cases were brought about or involved atheists.) It’s a really good resource for anyone interested.

The cases discussed range from Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow to Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation.

You can download the PDF here.

Here’s the conclusion in a nutshell:

In conclusion, in the cases that the Court has considered, the balance between non-establishment and free exercise continues to be debated on a case-by-case basis. The Court has decided somewhat similar cases differently, with the outcome turning on the details, implying that specific context may be the most determinative factor in church-state jurisprudence.



[tags]atheist, atheism, law, separation of church and state[/tags]

  • Luis J. Orozco, II

    What real difference does this make? We (the people) no longer have a constitutional republic. Our power has been totally usurped by the Supreme Court, the federal congress, and the president (King George). Our government is now simply a corporate fascistic government, and our people are simply divided between the haves and have-nots with no middle class.

    It will remain so until the people of this country revolt and forcefully take back the power, which is constitutionally theirs. The only way that can be done is to limit all politicians to only one single term in any given office, and completely divide the government into three separate divisions with each division responsible directly to the general public.

    Our founding fathers never intended to create a political industry, and until we abolish it, we cannot be free! To accomplish this we must have individual members of congress paid only by the people they represent out of the local treasuries, and not out of the federal treasury. As long as they are paid out of federal funds, their first allegiance will always be to the federal government instead of to the people who put them in office.

    In addition we must completely divide the federal government geographically. For example the president should remain in Washington D.C. while the House should be in say Chicago and the Senate in say Denver or Dallas. Each Supreme Court Judge should be in a separate city. In this way,

    1. They would not be able raise their own salaries or decide on their own retirements. This would save billions.
    2. We would be able to stop the governments from directly taxing us, and once again use tariffs to fund our entire government as we did before 1900. This takes the power out of the hands of government, and puts it back in the hands of the people.
    3. This would also end all tax exemptions (churches included) as well as stop the exporting of our industries to offshore locations.

    Finally we need to limit all corporations to a period of no more than 20 years, at which time they must dissolve and sell or distribute all assets to their individual stockholders. This would prevent them from gaining permanent control of our government. (As they now hold.)

    Without these changes our votes mean nothing, and we are no better than any other fascist government, if we like it or not!!!

  • Sarah H.

    Thanks for this information…. it’s really interesting, albeit not surprising.