Every year the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) holds a panel discussion on the just-concluded term of the U.S. Supreme Court. Broadcast live from the National Constitution Center, this year’s panel — consisting of legal experts Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, Frederick Lawrence and Dahlia Lithwick — reviewed the 2016-17 term, which ended in June. They covered topics ranging from free speech and transgender rights to an analysis of the court’s newest member, Justice Gorsuch. They also discussed an issue of particular interest to the Jewish community: the separation of church and state, raised by a Supreme Court case with potentially far-reaching implications. [Read more…]
– Alan Garfield
Why would we want to separate church and state? Isn’t religion a positive force in society? Doesn’t it foster ethical behavior and encourage charity? Just think of all the church-run soup kitchens or the moral leadership provided by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
So why would the framers build a wall separating church and state? Why not unite the two and combine their power for good?
Of course, the Constitution never explicitly says that there must be a wall separating church and state. But the First Amendment does say that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” In a landmark 1947 decision, the Supreme Court explained that this clause was “intended to erect ‛a wall of separation between church and State’” and that this wall “must be kept high and impregnable.”
What were the framers thinking? Were they opposed to religion? Were they at war with Christmas?
Certainly not. Most were religious themselves.
The framers merely knew their history. And history taught them that combining church and state produces a volatile brew that is good for neither church nor state. [Read more…]
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) spells out in a letter to a constituent his reasons for opposing the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court. [Read more…]
Purim approaches, and so does the hearing and vote for the president’s choice for a lifetime seat on the highest court in the land. Our 45th president, as imperial and out-of-touch as Ahasuerus (ex-wives! beauty contests!), displays a callous disregard for constitutional values, separation of religion and state and the importance of a fair and independent judiciary. Like the courageous Mordecai and Esther, we cannot afford to stay silent when we see a clear threat to liberty, equality and justice for all. That’s why progressive Jews should be speaking out to say that Judge Neil Gorsuch is wrong for the Supreme Court. [Read more…]