Supreme Court

PRECEDENT – A century ago religious groups tried to change the California Constitution to enact a religious law

J.O. Corliss – Liberty Magazine – 1908 – "California is the only State in the American Union without a Sunday law. From 1858 to 1883 a Sunday-rest statute in that State was made so annoying to many of its citizens that it became an object of political contention. The supposed dominant party, through church affiliations, inserted a plank in its platform, pledging itself to maintain the Sunday law for the betterment of the laboring class. The other party went to the polls, on a pledge to repeal the existing statute requiring Sunday rest, on the ground of its hostility to religious rights."

The result was a political upheaval in favor of repealing all Sunday laws in the State of California. About the same time the State supreme court handed down a decision in the case of ex parte Newman, declaring a Sunday law unconstitutional. Since then three attempts have been made by the churches to have the legislature re-enact a Sunday-law statute. These advances have been coldly met, on the ground that any such statute could have no force in the face of the constitutional limitation.


In wake of Supreme Court decision, 'clear defense needed of church-state wall' (Des Moines Register)

Considering the U.S. Supreme Court's contentious struggles over free speech and religion, it was a surprise to say the least to see Wednesday's ruling unanimously endorsing a government installation of the Ten Commandments in a city park.

While this ruling will likely have limited impact, it raises troubling questions about how dedicated this court – particularly the younger justices, who will be shaping it for decades to come – will be to maintaining the proverbial wall separating church and state.


Double Standards? – Supreme Court to hear two religious groups battle over monument

PLEASANT GROVE, UTAH – The U.S. Supreme Court today will hear an argument where two religious groups are fighting over whether one or both of them have the right to have their viewpoint heard. Summum, a small religious group wants to erect a monument on public land listing of the "Seven Aphorisms," but conservative Christian groups oppose it on the basis that it does not reflect their traditional values. The small plot of land already has a 10 comandments monument that has been there since 1971.


On September 23, 2008 an Innocent Man is Scheduled to Die

On September 23, 2008 an Innocent Man is Scheduled to Die

By Terry L. Benedict – How Easily Can an Innocent Man Lose His Life?

Ask Troy Davis, who came within a harrowing 23 hours of execution by lethal injection last year and received a new execution date of September 23, 2008:


J. Brent Walker – "Church and State in the USA: Promises and Challenges"

This thought-provoking address was given by J. Brent Walker of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty at the Congress on Religious Liberty in Buenos Aires, Argentina on April 28, 2008.  It was originally posted on the BJC website ( and is reposted here in its entirety with permission. Good morning! I appreciate the kind invitation of Raul Scialabba to […]


Significant Differences Emerging Between McCain and Obama in Prospective Judicial Nominees (NY Times)

It is looking more and more likely that either Barack Obama or John McCain will be the next President of the United States.  They will leave a lasting legacy in the form of their judicial appointments. The New York Times today posted a good analysis of how they may decide who interprets the law.  Thanks to Greg Hamilton of the […]


Barack Obama's judicial nominees (Baltimore Sun)

James Oliphant of the Baltimore Sun blogged about Barack Obama's judicial nominees. Here is some of what Obama has said on the topic: What you're looking for is somebody who is going to apply the law where it's clear. Now there's gonna be those five percent of cases or one percent of cases where the law isn't clear. And […]


Polygamy: Where religious liberty ends (Salt Lake Tribune)

Trying to walk the line between religious freedom and societal concerns has never been easy. Some scholars say the line is drawn at polygamy. This article explores that option, but is the line even better drawn at child abuse? What about "legitimate" serial marriages and divorces? This issue may gain some traction in the next few months. Admin Read the […]


Supreme Court to consider Ten Commandments vs. 'Seven Aphorisms'

Supreme Court to consider Ten Commandments vs. 'Seven Aphorisms'

Must a city park that displays one monument also permit others'? By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer April 1, 2008 WASHINGTON — If a city allows a monument with the Ten Commandments to be erected in a public park, must it also allow other religions and groups to display monuments of their choosing? The Supreme Court agreed […]


Dexter Avenue and the Battle for the Bill of Rights