Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor accused the court’s conservative members of trying to “dismantle the wall of separation between church and state” in a blistering dissent that was released on Tuesday.
The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in Carson v. Makin, holding that the government could not prevent its citizens from receiving taxpayer-funded financial aid for private religious instruction.
“U.S. Supreme Court just ruled in a 6-3 decision that preventing school choice families from taking their children’s taxpayer-funded education dollars to religious private schools violated the Free Exercise Clause of the 1st Amendment,” said school choice advocate Corey DeAngelis in a tweet announcing the decision.
“This Court continues to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state that the Framers fought to build,” Sotomayor wrote in her dissent. “In just a few years, the Court has upended constitutional doctrine. shifting from a rule that permits States to decline to fund religious organizations to one that requires States in many circumstances to subsidize religious indoctrination with taxpayer dollars.”
The government saying religious beliefs BLOCKS people from participating in government UNDERMINES the separation of church and state.
The STATE is barred from isolating religious beliefs. Sotomayor ignores that. https://t.co/Sr9705sXFk
— Pradheep J. Shanker (@Neoavatara) June 21, 2022
It’s obvious that one of our Supreme Court justices doesn’t even know what the phrase “separation of church and state” means in its truest sense.
Understanding the circumstances in which the phrase “separation of church and state” was penned will help us grasp what it originally meant. Those who came to America in order to create a more perfect union did not want everyone to fall into the traps that existed in England.
The concept of the separation of religion and state does not imply that one cannot discuss religious matters within a government capacity or bring up political issues in a religious setting. It would be entirely misinformed to suggest either of those things.
The first thing to know is that the separation of church and state is not something that is in the Constitution. It was a term that was coined by Thomas Jefferson afterwards.
The Congressional Record (required by the Constitution in Art. i, Sec. 5, ¶ 3) contains all the official words and acts that occur in congressional chambers. Those records therefore include the discussion of the ninety Founders in the first federal Congress who, from June 8 to September 25, 1789, framed the First Amendment.22 In those lengthy discussions that spanned months, the Founders repeatedly explained that they were seeking to prevent what they had experienced under Great Britain: the legal establishment by the national government of a single religious denomination in exclusion of all others (whether Catholic, Anglican, or any other). Very simply, their oft-repeated intent was that Congress could not officially establish any one denomination in America; or, in the wording proposed by James Madison, “nor shall any national religion be established.”
(Significantly, the word “religion” in the Founders’ First Amendment discussions was often used interchangeably with the word “denomination.” For example, the original version of the First Amendment introduced in the Senate on September 3, 1789, stated, “Congress shall not make any law establishing any religious denomination.” The second version stated, “Congress shall make no law establishing any particular denomination.” The third version was very similar, declaring, “Congress shall make no law establishing any particular denomination in preference to another.” The final version passed on that day declared, “Congress shall make no law establishing religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Clearly, the word “religion” had been used interchangeably with “denomination” throughout their discussions, and this is why the First Amendment prohibited the national government from establishing any single “religion,” or denomination.)