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Nihilism and the End of Law

When President Bush nominated Judge Clarence Thomas to a vacancy on the United States Supreme Court, liberals opposed to confirming the nomination at first directed critical scrutiny to statements the nominee had made in favor of employing “natural law” in constitutional interpretation. The . . . . Continue Reading »

A Common Enemy, A Common Cause

On June 24, 1992 the Supreme Court handed down Lee v. Weisman, a decision that declares officially sponsored prayer at the graduation exercises of government schools to be unconstitutional. The following article is the previously unpublished text of an address given by Father John Courtney . . . . Continue Reading »

Editorial: Abortion and a Nation at War

Surely, one may devoutly hope, Justice Scalia exaggerates. In his dissent from Planned Parenthood v. Casey (joined by Rehnquist, Thomas, and White), he develops the analogy between this case and the infamous  Dred Scott decision of 1857. What happened then is, in ways . . . . Continue Reading »

Statement on Church and State

June 17, 1948 Recent decisions of the Supreme Court have extended the meaning of the constitutional prohibition of an establishment of religion so that any action by the state that is intended to benefit all religious bodies without discrimination is forbidden. This development of the conception of . . . . Continue Reading »

The Constitution and the Erotic Self

The history books tell us that Gavrilo Princip, the Serbian nationalist who shot and killed Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand in 1914 at Sarajevo, started World War I by providing the occasion, or excuse, for the release of long-smoldering political tensions and ambitions. Thus can small trickles . . . . Continue Reading »

Editorial: What Can Be Asked of a Judge

A number of important questions touching on religion and public life were raised early on in connection with the nomination of Judge Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. One set of questions has to do with his Catholic background, the other with some public statements he has made regarding the role . . . . Continue Reading »

Leaping Headfirst Into the Smith Trap

ichard John Neuhaus has joined the chorus of those singing a lament to the death of religious liberty (“Polygamy, Peyote, and the Public Peace,”October 1990). The cause of the choir’s mournful tune is the Supreme Court’s decision in the so-called peyote case, Employment Division v. . . . . Continue Reading »

Polygamy, Peyote, and the Public Peace

No one should be surprised that decisions of great constitutional moment are sometimes occasioned by cases that seem trivial or exotic. Those who are threatened by the majority sentiment of the moment appeal to the Constitution, although not always successfully. There was, for instance, the 1879 . . . . Continue Reading »

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