Supreme Court strikes down the only way to challenge illegal executive branch support of religion

June 27, 2007 | By | 2 Replies More

The following excerpts are from a report posted on the website of the plaintiff, the Freedom From Religion Foundation: 

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision today in Hein v. FFRF granting the executive branch the freedom to violate the separation of church and state without court review spells “imperial presidency,” charges the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

“This means we have a constitutional separation between church and state, but no way to enforce it if the executive branch chooses to violate it with ‘discretionary’ actions,” added Dan Barker, a plaintiff and Foundation co-president.

“The only remedy left, since individual Americans are being barred from challenging this violation, is for Congress to defund the Office of Faith-based Initiatives at the White House and Cabinets,” said Barker. “Let Congress provide the oversight that the Court is refusing to give!”

The punchy and powerful dissent, written by Justice Souter and signed by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Stevens, notes: “If the Executive could accomplish through the exercise of discretion exactly what Congress cannot do through legislation, Establishment Clause protection would melt away.”

Souter wrote: “I see no basis for this distinction in either logic or precedent, and respectfully dissent.”


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Category: Law, Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (2)

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  1. Ben says:

    Christian activists tried to disrupt a Hindu prayer in the Senate.

    "WHY is there a prayer of any sort in the US Senate? I understood that your constitution forbade any establishment of religion."

    The pro-prayer activists do not usually read the US constitution. On those rare occasions when they do read parts of it, they always interpret those parts to agree with their pre-existing opinions, no matter how contorted and ridiculous that interpretation is. In other words, they treat the US constitution much like they treat their own bible – but with less respect.

  2. grumpypilgrim says:

    I'm with Ben on this one. Christian arrogant intolerance simply astonishes me. They will resolutely declare that resurrection is absolute truth, then ridicule Hindus for believing in reincarnation, as if either belief is any less absurd than the other.

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