Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1691661
 


 



Constitutional Divide: The Transformative Significance of the School Prayer Decisions


Steven Douglas Smith


University of San Diego School of Law

October 13, 2010

San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 10-038

Abstract:     
This article challenges the standard view in which Everson v. Board of Education was the foundational and most important establishment clause decision and the school prayer decisions of the early 1960s (Engel v. Vitale and Abington School District v. Schempp) were virtually automatic corollaries. In fact, the article argues, it was the school prayer decisions that were foundational, subverting Everson’s “no aid separationism,” and animating not only later establishment clause jurisprudence but much else in constitutional and public discourse besides. Indeed, it is plausible to see the influence of the school prayer decisions and their articulation of secular neutrality as a constitutionally mandated baseline in many of the social conflicts often today placed under the heading of “culture wars.”

Number of Pages in PDF File: 106

Keywords: Freedom of Religion, Separation of Church and State, Constittutional Law, Culture

JEL Classification: K10, K39

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Date posted: October 14, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Smith, Steven Douglas, Constitutional Divide: The Transformative Significance of the School Prayer Decisions (October 13, 2010). San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 10-038. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1691661

Contact Information

Steven Douglas Smith (Contact Author)
University of San Diego School of Law ( email )
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States
619-260-7969 (Phone)
619-260-2492 (Fax)
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