Original Intent: Chief Justice Rehnquist and the Course of American Church-State Relations

Derek Davis, Author Prometheus Books $40 (202p) ISBN 978-0-87975-649-9
The separation of church and state, a First Amendment principle long upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, is now endangered, according to attorney Davis. In an important, dispassionate, disturbing brief, he faults the ``accommodationist'' philosophy of Chief Justice William Rehnquist who believes that the government should be free to dispense aid to various religious groups so long as no favoritism is involved. Rehnquist's majority decision in last year's Smith case, which implies that government at all levels may support or limit religious practices if they choose to do so, is ``frightening in its implications for religious liberty,'' contends Davis, associate editor of the Journal of Church and State. His closely argued treatise includes a valuable balance-sheet predicting how each of the current Supreme Court justices is likely to vote on future religious matters. Strict separationism is no threat to religious life in the U.S., claims Davis, an argument well worth pondering. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
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