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The Endorsement Court, Jay D. Wexler Jan 2006

The Endorsement Court, Jay D. Wexler

Washington University Journal of Law & Policy

The Rehnquist Court was the first to apply the so-called “endorsement test” to evaluate the constitutionality of government-sponsored religious symbols and displays. The test asks whether a “reasonable observer” would feel that the government has sent “a message to non-adherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community.” Although the Supreme Court itself has applied the endorsement test in only a handful of cases, the test has played an extremely important role in how courts throughout the country have evaluated government ...


Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others: The Rehnquist Court And “Majority Religion”, Garrett Epps Jan 2006

Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others: The Rehnquist Court And “Majority Religion”, Garrett Epps

Washington University Journal of Law & Policy

This Essay explores the evolution of the remarkable new view of religion and the Constitution during the Rehnquist Court era. Part II analyzes Justice Scalia’s dissent in Lee v. Weisman, which set out the agenda for the religious caucus of the Court in the early years. Part III shows how the rhetoric of equality and historical grievance has been used to dismantle the boundary—for old time’s sake, let us call it a “wall of separation”—that separated religious institutions from the public fisc. Part IV analyzes Justice Scalia’s dissent in McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties ...


The Apparent Consistency Of Religion Clause Doctrine, Abner S. Greene Jan 2006

The Apparent Consistency Of Religion Clause Doctrine, Abner S. Greene

Washington University Journal of Law & Policy

A hallmark of religion clause scholarship is the complaint that the doctrine is a hopeless muddle. However, the Rehnquist Court brought a considerable amount of consistency—well, apparent consistency— to the doctrine. I say “apparent consistency” because, just as a paradox is only a seeming contradiction, so was the Rehnquist Court’s religion clause jurisprudence only seemingly consistent. The doctrine focuses on whether the government singles out religion for special benefit (generally problematic under the Establishment Clause) or for special burden (generally problematic under the Free Exercise Clause). If, on the other hand, the government benefits religion as part of ...


What's Right And Wrong With “No Endorsement”, Thomas C. Berg Jan 2006

What's Right And Wrong With “No Endorsement”, Thomas C. Berg

Washington University Journal of Law & Policy

Contrary to Professor Wexler, I argue that unless the endorsement test is properly understood and limited, it has the critical flaw of putting the Establishment Clause at war with the other religion guarantee of the First Amendment, the Free Exercise Clause. If the Establishment Clause forbade government endorsement of religion in all contexts, it would undermine the government’s ability to give special accommodation to religious practice and thus would severely impair free exercise values. “No endorsement of religion” thus must function, not as the general requirement of the Establishment Clause, but only as a rule for the particular class ...


Justice Scalia And The Religion Clauses: A Comment On Professor Epps, Eric R. Claeys Jan 2006

Justice Scalia And The Religion Clauses: A Comment On Professor Epps, Eric R. Claeys

Washington University Journal of Law & Policy

In this Comment, I hope to identify the areas in which Professor Epps makes novel and important insights, and the areas in which originalists and religionists will disagree with how he evaluates those insights.


Intelligent Design And The First Amendment: A Response, Jay D. Wexler Jan 2006

Intelligent Design And The First Amendment: A Response, Jay D. Wexler

Washington University Law Review

In late 2004, the school board of the Dover School District in Pennsylvania passed a series of measures requiring teachers to inform students that evolution is incomplete and to make available to students a textbook on “intelligent design” (“ID”), a purportedly scientific theory suggesting that an intelligent agent created the universe and everything in it, including human beings. In December 2005, a federal district Judge ruled that the school’s policies violated the First Amendment. In a series of recent writings, including a full length book and several articles, Baylor University professor Francis J. Beckwith has argued that public schools ...