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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Discusses Church-State Separation
ASSOCIATED PRESS / Las Vegas Sun ^ | 1.12.03 | ASSOCIATED PRESS /

Posted on 01/12/2003 6:44:01 PM PST by rface

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia complained Sunday that courts have gone overboard in keeping God out of government.

Scalia, speaking at a religious ceremony, said the constitutional wall between church and state has been misinterpreted both by the Supreme Court and lower courts.

As an example, he pointed to a ruling in California that barred students from saying the Pledge of Allegiance with the phrase "one nation under God."

That appeals court decision is on hold pending further consideration by the same court, but the Supreme Court could eventually be asked to review the case.

Scalia, the main speaker at an event for Religious Freedom Day, said past rulings by his own court gave the judges in the Pledge case "some plausible support" to reach that conclusion.

However, the justice said he believes such decisions should be made legislatively, not by courts.

The rally-style event drew a lone protester, who silently held a sign promoting the separation of church and state.

"The sign back here which says `Get religion out of government,' can be imposed on the whole country. I have no problem with that philosophy being adopted democratically. If the gentleman holding the sign would persuade all of you of that, then we could eliminate `under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance. That could be democratically done," said Scalia.

The rest of the crowd repeatedly cheered Scalia, whose son, Paul, is a priest at a nearby Catholic church. The justice, also a Catholic, is a father of nine.

Several hundred people joined him in singing "God Bless America" after a brief parade through downtown.

"He's the voice of reason on the Supreme Court," said Jim McFall, a retired FBI agent who organized the Knights of Columbus parade. "His remarks were right on the money. The pendulum has swung too far and people have said `enough is enough.' We'll see it swing back."

Scalia used the event to repeat criticisms that the Constitution is being liberally interpreted. "It is a Constitution that morphs while you look at it like Plasticman," he said.

The Constitution says the government cannot "establish" or promote religion, but Scalia said the framers did not intend for God to be stripped from public life.

"That is contrary to our whole tradition, to `in God we trust' on the coins, to (presidential) Thanksgiving proclamations, to (congressional) chaplains, to tax exemption for places of worship, which has always existed in America."


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: antoninscalia; camden; catholic; catholiclist; churchandstate; columbus; italian; justicescalia; knights; kofc; newjersey; nj; religion; scalia; scotus
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I went to a Scalia event here at U. of Missouri, Columbia a year or more ago. What a guy!

I am surprised that this article hasn't been posted here - I did a check...

Ashland, Missouri

1 posted on 01/12/2003 6:44:01 PM PST by rface
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To: rface
this event happened at FREDERICKSBURG, Va......
2 posted on 01/12/2003 6:45:27 PM PST by rface (Ashland, Missouri)
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3 posted on 01/12/2003 6:46:38 PM PST by Anti-Bubba182
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To: rface
Thanks for the encouraging post.
4 posted on 01/12/2003 6:50:40 PM PST by Faith
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To: rface
"That is contrary to our whole tradition, to `in God we trust' on the coins, to (presidential) Thanksgiving proclamations, to (congressional) chaplains, to tax exemption for places of worship, which has always existed in America."

Slavery was part of our tradition, too. Should we bring it back? Oh, those good old days, Tony.

5 posted on 01/12/2003 6:52:56 PM PST by jo6pac
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To: rface
Scalia is interesting. He is an original-intent purist, right down to the last wart, which certainly is a position in favor of preserving robust Christian liberties but also puts him in the position of apologia for some indefensible things in other arenas.
6 posted on 01/12/2003 6:53:17 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck
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To: jo6pac
WHAT?
7 posted on 01/12/2003 7:01:35 PM PST by Leonard210
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To: GatorGirl; tiki; maryz; *Catholic_list; afraidfortherepublic; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; Askel5; ...
Ping
8 posted on 01/12/2003 7:02:10 PM PST by narses
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To: rface
"The sign back here which says `Get religion out of government,' can be imposed on the whole country. I have no problem with that philosophy being adopted democratically. If the gentleman holding the sign would persuade all of you of that, then we could eliminate `under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance. That could be democratically done," said Scalia.

That is a curious thing for an "Original Intent" jurist to say. I wonder what other things he thinks could be done "democratically"? If the majority of the people in this country convinced their reps and senators to ban firearms ownership, would that pass muster with him?

9 posted on 01/12/2003 7:04:15 PM PST by Double Tap
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To: jo6pac
Slavery was part of our tradition, too. Should we bring it back? Oh, those good old days, Tony.

I guess you are confused.
We should discard those things that are against the constitution, and keep the things that are in the constitution.

Slavery is against the ideals that the Bill of Rights states - and is also against the laws that the Constitution decrees. The separation of Church and State is a "made-up" amendment to the Constitution that has taken root in liberal folklore - and has spread into Libertarian circles. Its time to put this fairytale to bed.....

10 posted on 01/12/2003 7:04:47 PM PST by rface (Ashland, Missouri)
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To: jo6pac
THe founding documents of the nation do NOT hinge upon slavery but they do hinge explicitly upon what the very founding documents themselves consider to be God-given freedoms.
11 posted on 01/12/2003 7:06:34 PM PST by Notwithstanding (America: Home of Abortion on Demand - 42,000,000 Slaughtered)
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: Double Tap
The constitution forbids only establishment - which is far far different than the constitutionally permissible government involvement with or promotion of religion.

Since it is permissible, such promotion or involvement can be legislatively required or prohibited.

(Unlike a constitutional freedom or right - such as to bear arms - which cannot be suppressed via legislative act)


13 posted on 01/12/2003 7:11:00 PM PST by Notwithstanding (America: Home of Abortion on Demand - 42,000,000 Slaughtered)
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To: Double Tap
I think Scalia is saying that if you want to get rid of "God" in the government, don't try to do it under the guise of a "Separation of Church and State" clause (since there is no such clause) - do it the way the system allows you to do it - at the ballot box.

Scalia would say, "If you want to prevent Christmas Displays on your town square, don't dis-allow it on Constitutional Grounds - pass a law that prevents it by reason of democratic decree.

my humble opinion as a constitutional legal layman

14 posted on 01/12/2003 7:11:29 PM PST by rface (Ashland, Missouri)
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To: rface
you are spot on

15 posted on 01/12/2003 7:12:51 PM PST by Notwithstanding (America: Home of Abortion on Demand - 42,000,000 Slaughtered)
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To: rface
The recent travesty in Illinois where a Catholic governor knuckled under to the position of the Catholic church and effectively did away with the death penalty should be a wake-up call to all Americans on the importance of the separation of church and state. Not to pick on the Catholics particularly, but religions tend to look for a foot in the door, and when they get it, look out. Religion is a private matter. Our Founders understood that.
16 posted on 01/12/2003 7:14:20 PM PST by blau993
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To: Notwithstanding
"Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..." Amendment I, Bill of Rights.

So if congress can make no law respecting any religion, how can they do what he says?

17 posted on 01/12/2003 7:18:51 PM PST by Double Tap
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To: blau993
I don't think he did this because he was Catholic - more likely he did it because he saw there were holes in the justice system that a whale could have floated through.

I don't know all the details - so maybe I am just ignorant of some important facts......I suspect that Ryan had some good reasons for doing what he did......hopefully justice was served.

18 posted on 01/12/2003 7:20:19 PM PST by rface (Ashland, Missouri)
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To: rface
read later
19 posted on 01/12/2003 7:21:42 PM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: Double Tap
"Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..." Amendment I, Bill of Rights.

So if congress can make no law respecting any religion, how can they do what he says?

You play bad word games....where does it say..."congress can make no law respecting any religion"? It says "respecting an Establishment of religion....(ie. a denomination, a specific religion, a religious point-of-view)

If the 1st stated, "....shall make no laws respecting THE establishING of religion..." then I would give you the point, but that's just not what it says.

20 posted on 01/12/2003 7:27:46 PM PST by rface (Ashland, Missouri)
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To: rface
Slavery is against the ideals that the Bill of Rights states - and is also against the laws that the Constitution decrees.

Some founding fathers were slaveholders. The BoR was for white men. It was not unconstitutional until after a civil war and an amendment.

21 posted on 01/12/2003 7:32:12 PM PST by jo6pac
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To: Notwithstanding
See #21
22 posted on 01/12/2003 7:33:28 PM PST by jo6pac
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To: Double Tap
You are still a bit off. Legal documents need to be looked at carefully - each word matters.

no laws "respecting an __ESTABLISHMENT__ of religion" are allowed

for centuries "ESTABLISHMENT" had a fixed meaning: "A form of government, civil or ecclesiastical; especially, a system of religion maintained by the civil power; as, the Episcopal establishment of England" (Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996).

thus only true "establishment" of something along the lines of a Church of England (with an episcopal hierarchy established by the government).


23 posted on 01/12/2003 7:37:38 PM PST by Notwithstanding (America: Home of Abortion on Demand - 42,000,000 Slaughtered)
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To: uncowed
Today we've destroyed this safeguard by allowing judges to legislate from the bench, the Constitution not withstanding.

Interpreting the law IS legislating from the bench.

24 posted on 01/12/2003 7:38:02 PM PST by jo6pac
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To: rface
Sorry, your the one playing word games. The amendment clearly states that congress can not make laws that respect one establishment, or organized group, of religion over another. The original intent was to make sure that the government did not make a state religion, or favor one religion over another. That all religions, of lack of belief, could be practiced freely.
25 posted on 01/12/2003 7:38:42 PM PST by Double Tap
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To: Double Tap
You are flat out wrong.

In a legal and historical context, your definition of "establishment" is in error.

History also PROVES you wrong in that some state constitutions in effect at the same time (both before and after the US Constitution was retifies) forbade establishment while these same states mandated that local communities collect taxes to fund Christian worhip services.

Likewise, after the US Constitution was ratified Congress funded Christian chaplains for itself. Likewise, Congress continues to fund military chaplains (and has done so for 200 years).





26 posted on 01/12/2003 7:48:57 PM PST by Notwithstanding (America: Home of Abortion on Demand - 42,000,000 Slaughtered)
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To: Double Tap
"of lack of" should be "or lack of"
27 posted on 01/12/2003 7:49:26 PM PST by Double Tap
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To: Notwithstanding
It is not my definition. It is a definition of the word, and it has been for a long time.

After the Constitution was ratified, many things continued to be done that were clearly unconstitutional.

28 posted on 01/12/2003 7:54:46 PM PST by Double Tap
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To: Double Tap
Its one definition - but the law does not merely allow you to apply the definition of choice.

"establishment" is a term that had a particular legal meaning when used to discuss religion and government interaction - UNTIL the activist supreme court redefined it during the last century in order to suppress religion

I wish you could admit your lack of knowledge in this area.
29 posted on 01/12/2003 8:01:49 PM PST by Notwithstanding (America: Home of Abortion on Demand - 42,000,000 Slaughtered)
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To: Notwithstanding
You are the one who needs to do some thinking. Do you really believe that the Constitution allows states to levy taxes to support a particular religion?

The Constitution is clearly written. Try reading it. Try not to bend it to your benefit.

30 posted on 01/12/2003 8:21:09 PM PST by Double Tap
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To: jo6pac
Remember the constitution says freedom of religion not freedom from religion. Yes it says that congress shall make no laws establishing religion, but it also goes on to say nor shall congess make any laws prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Much like all of the bill of rights you have to read the whole ammendment just not the parts you want.
31 posted on 01/12/2003 8:27:13 PM PST by SandRat
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To: rface
Slavery was part of our tradition, too. Should we bring it back?

Slavery is still alive and well in the U.S. The slaves just happen to be in third world nations. When you're paying a Chinese worker $0.20 an hour to make products for here and the CEO who moved our jobs over there is pocketing millions, what do you call it?

32 posted on 01/12/2003 8:31:52 PM PST by dirtydanusa
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To: Double Tap
I'll give you this to think about: the Constitution, and the first amendment, are federal law. It says "Congress shall make no laws...," which begs the question: to whom exactly does this apply? I don't propose a clear answer, since I'm no lawyer, but it seems that it could specifically be referring the federal Congress and not the congress of any individual state. Would that, then, allow the states themselves to pass laws which touch on religion? This idea is particularly striking in the context of the tenth amendment, and since amendments crafted to explicitly deal with the rights of states usually begin with "No state shall..." I've often wondered about this, since I live in Maryland, which was a Catholic state at the time it ratified the Constitution, and nobody then seemed to see that as much of a contradiction.
33 posted on 01/12/2003 8:35:21 PM PST by JaimeD2
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To: JaimeD2
The original intent was a prohibition on the US Congress from making laws on religion. The Fourteenth Amendment made it applicable to states as well.
34 posted on 01/12/2003 8:48:21 PM PST by Double Tap
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To: SandRat
Remember the constitution says freedom of religion not freedom from religion. Yes it says that congress shall make no laws establishing religion, but it also goes on to say nor shall congess make any laws prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

OK

Much like all of the bill of rights you have to read the whole ammendment just not the parts you want.

OK

No argument from me.

35 posted on 01/12/2003 8:51:39 PM PST by jo6pac
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To: Double Tap
The original intent was to make sure that the government did not make a state religion, or favor one religion over another. That all religions, of lack of belief, could be practiced freely.

Well, I guess we agree....imagine that!

36 posted on 01/12/2003 8:56:07 PM PST by rface (Ashland, Missouri)
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To: Double Tap
I can see that, given the context. The Fourteenth Amendment was a great consolidation of federal control; the "equal protection" clause, meant to apply to freed slaves, does seem to make all things federal, including the prohibition of establishment of religion, apply to the states as well. While I doubt that was intended, it could certainly be read that way. I always get a bit wary when closely scruitinizing the language of the Constitution and separating that from perceived intent, though, because a particularly careful reading of the second amendment, which is a grammatical nightmare on par with this sentence, seems to not protect the rights of individual gun owners. And I'm not so sure that was intended.
37 posted on 01/12/2003 8:59:39 PM PST by JaimeD2
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To: jo6pac
The BoR was for white men. It was not unconstitutional until after a civil war and an amendment.

I don't see anything about "white men" in the BoR, but in some of the documents I see phrases like "All men are endowed etc."

What is the amendment written after the Civil War that you refer to? .....

38 posted on 01/12/2003 9:02:24 PM PST by rface (Ashland, Missouri)
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To: rface
He's referring to the thirteenth. It's pretty explicit: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
39 posted on 01/12/2003 9:12:22 PM PST by JaimeD2
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To: rface
Prior to the 14th Amendment, slaves were not under federal jurisdiction. They were an issue handled by individual states...and considered property - no rights.
40 posted on 01/12/2003 9:20:14 PM PST by jo6pac
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To: JaimeD2
I have to disagree with you on the Second Amendment. It is very clear on the meaning. The "militia clause" is not a modifier or limiter on the right. The subject of the sentence, "the right to keep and bear arms", is clearly meant for the people. The "people" clearly is the individual.

You might want to find a copy of J. Neil Schulman's "Stopping Power". It has a very good section on the sentence structure of the Second Amendment.

41 posted on 01/12/2003 9:20:33 PM PST by Double Tap
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To: JaimeD2
Thanks
42 posted on 01/12/2003 9:21:28 PM PST by jo6pac
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To: JaimeD2
Let me retract that second part of the post about the text of the second amendment; I don't want to get killed. I've looked up some more sources on it, and I'm finding "expert" opinions which contradict each other, all from leigitimate experts. A good resource for people who want to see how the second amendment may, grammatically, protect the rights of individual gun owners is:

http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBViewItem.asp?ID=1444
43 posted on 01/12/2003 9:31:37 PM PST by JaimeD2
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To: Double Tap
What a coincidence (actually, it's probably not). The article I just linked to is by Schulman, called "The Unabridged Second Amendment."
44 posted on 01/12/2003 9:33:27 PM PST by JaimeD2
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To: JaimeD2
Yep, that is the one. Good find.
45 posted on 01/12/2003 9:39:22 PM PST by Double Tap
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To: rface
Wouldn't have thought that Justice Scalia read Plasticman. LOL!
46 posted on 01/12/2003 9:55:03 PM PST by Dajjal
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To: blau993
for the record:

After I learned a bit about what Gov. Ryan has done, I must say that he has made a terrible mistake.

47 posted on 01/13/2003 6:19:32 AM PST by rface (Ashland, Missouri)
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To: Double Tap
Do you really believe that the Constitution allows states to levy taxes to support a particular religion?

Again, you are not very careful and need to be more careful.

The relevant question is: "Do you really believe that the Constitution allows states to levy taxes to support religious worship?" (for some 50 years after the Constitution was ratified states mandated local taxing to support the local worship services of various Christian denominations - but stopped short of limiting such practice to one particular "established" church)

To that question my answer is: YES

To answer "no" one has to be ignorant of law and history - something that is understandable given the revisionism that is prevalent in our press and academia.


48 posted on 01/13/2003 8:09:46 AM PST by Notwithstanding (America: Home of Abortion on Demand - 42,000,000 Slaughtered)
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To: JaimeD2
1. You are wrong about Maryland being Catholic at the time of ratification.

2. Up until the post-civil war amendments, the states could establish a religion for their state if they so desired and their own state constitution allowed it. (Thus Utah could have Constitutionally established Mormonism as the state religion if their state constitution allowed for that and the people enacted such a measure legislatively). This all cahnged after the civil war amendments, with the states now being generally bound to the bill of rights (a s they had not previously been bound.
49 posted on 01/13/2003 8:14:23 AM PST by Notwithstanding (America: Home of Abortion on Demand - 42,000,000 Slaughtered)
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To: Notwithstanding
Who in hell do you think you are? I asked a relevent question and you tell me I need to be careful?

Which religion should my tax dollars go to? I'm sure it will be Christianity, right? What about Islam? What about Jews?

Next question. Do the states that levied taxes for religious worship before the civil war still do that? Of course not. Why? Because it was unconstitutional.

Revisionist? You're the King of Revisionist history.

Go pound sand.

50 posted on 01/13/2003 12:02:21 PM PST by Double Tap
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