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]