Skip to comments.ELK GROVE UNIFIED SCHOOL DIST. V. NEWDOW (O'Donnell / Coons / Establishment Clause)
Posted on 10/19/2010 7:40:43 PM PDT by truthfreedom
The Establishment Clause provides that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. Amdt. 1. As a textual matter, this Clause probably prohibits Congress from establishing a national religion. ... Perhaps more importantly, the Clause made clear that Congress could not interfere with state establishments, notwithstanding any argument that could be made based on Congress power under the Necessary and Proper Clause. ...
Nothing in the text of the Clause suggests that it reaches any further. The Establishment Clause does not purport to protect individual rights. By contrast, the Free Exercise Clause plainly protects individuals against congressional interference with the right to exercise their religion, and the remaining Clauses within the First Amendment expressly disable Congress from abridging [particular] freedom[s]. (Emphasis added.) This textual analysis is consistent with the prevailing view that the Constitution left religion to the States. ... History also supports this understanding: At the founding, at least six States had established religions. Nor has this federalism point escaped the notice of Members of this Court...
Quite simply, the Establishment Clause is best understood as a federalism provisionit protects state establishments from federal interference but does not protect any individual right. These two features independently make incorporation of the Clause difficult to understand. The best argument in favor of incorporation would be that, by disabling Congress from establishing a national religion, the Clause protected an individual right, enforceable against the Federal Government, to be free from coercive federal establishments. Incorporation of this individual right, the argument goes, makes sense. I have alluded to this possibility before. See Zelman, supra, at 679 (Thomas, J., concurring) (States may pass laws that include or touch on religious matters so long as these laws do not impede free exercise rights or any other individual liberty interest (emphasis added)).
(Excerpt) Read more at law.cornell.edu ...
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.
Very simply stated. Congress(Federal government) cannot establish a religion. In other words no Federal run religion. Christine O’Donnell was right on target. Coons once again was wrong. Simple as that.
Oh yes they can...Under the "Commerce Clause" I heard them say that they could do anything. /sarc
I believe this case was for arguing about prayer in school. Atheist Michael Newdow (plaintiff) argued against prayer in school. For those who might not know, he’s famous for trying to remove God from the public conscience.