Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Penitents in the penitentiary again

I wrote about this a few weeks ago, coming to a somewhat different conclusion, but Robert P. George and Gerard V. Bradley are always worth reading.

Discussions - 5 Comments

Would that constitutional analysis were this simple:

CONGRESS shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.... (emphasis added).

1. The First Amendment refers to the legislature. Not the executive. The Department of Corrections is a function of the executive, not the legislature. The First Amendment, therefore, should not be applied to the Department of Corrections.

2. Congress shall MAKE NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.... (emphasis added)

The First Amendment does not say Congress shall MAKE NO CONTRACT.... Here, the Department of Corrections has entered into a contract with a religious organization. The Department of Corrections was not making a law but making a contract. The act by the Department of Corrections of making a contract with a religious organization should, therefore, not be seen as a violation of the First Amendment.

The legislative act resulting in the funding of the contract was religiously neutral and therefore not a violation of the First Amendment.

Please note, this is the way I think the Constitution ought to be interpreted, not the way it is interpreted.

Uncle Guido,

If you wanted to be even bolder, you could point out that the First Amendment says nothing about states. But that is, of course, basically a lost cause.

Thank God for that Fourteenth Amendment (right, Allan?).

Matt- You know as well as I do that the rapid decline of the virtue of our citizenry and government can be traced in large part (but is not the sole cause) to the reinterpretation of the 14th Amendment.

It’s too early in the morning to be bitter about that again . . .

Allan -

I don’t know about being "traced in large part", but it has certainly contributed.

You should stop getting up so early.

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