Redefining the First Freedom: Supreme Court and the Consolidation of State Power

1st Edition

Gregg Ivers

Published January 30, 1992
Reference - 248 Pages
ISBN 9781560000549 - CAT# Y344249

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For over two hundred years, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has prevented government from establishing an official religion and from supporting or inhibiting privately held religious beliefs. Nonetheless, agreement over the proper constitutional boundaries separating religion from the state remains elusive. In this timely book, Ivers demonstrates that recent trends emerging in the Supreme Court point toward a weakening of the constitutional protections extended to religious minorities and a widening breach in the wall separating church and state.In the last decade, Ronald Reagan, who openly expressed his contempt for the Court's religious clause decisions, appointed justices who shared his view that majorities should have greater control over questions involving the place of religion in public life. This pattern has been continued by George Bush's appointments to the Court. In rigorous and comprehensive terms, Ivers examines the profound changes hi the church-state jurisprudence of the Supreme Court. Rather than viewing law and politics hi mutually exclusive terms, the author explains how this Court's drastic departure from established precedent is not value-neutral as claimed but represents a carefully crafted political jurisprudence designed to advance the interests of majoritarian religion.In case after case, Professor Ivers illustrates that the Court has abandoned its role as a countermajoritarian institution, a posture that has had, and will continue to have, grave consequences for religious minorities not well positioned hi legislative bodies. Brilliantly argued and written hi a lucid accessible manner, Redefining the First Freedom will appeal to constitutional scholars, political scientists, and civil rights activists. It will Inject new vigor into the debate over the Court's role as guarantor of individual rights, the meaning of the First Amendment religion clauses, and the appropriate relationship between religion and government.

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