Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Breyer casts decisive vote on religious displays - Tom Curry - MSNBC.com

Breyer casts decisive vote on religious displays - Tom Curry - MSNBC.com

BG: I find myself in the extremely usual position of thinking Thomas has this right:

[Joining Scalia in Monday’s Ten Commandments decisions was Clarence Thomas.

In his view, when the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” it means exactly that and nothing more than that. Congress “shall make no law,” but the states may do so, if they choose to.

“This case would be easy,” Thomas said, if the court would simply “return to the original meaning of the (Establishment) Clause.” ]

Instead of a logical approach to this question, look what a muddle has been created. Check out this paragraph:

[Hinting at practical political consequences, Breyer also worried that if the court banned long-standing displays of the Ten Commandments, it might spark public outrage, “the very kind of religiously based divisiveness that the Establishment Clause seeks to avoid.]

The highest court in the land ends up with a split-the-middle ruling with logic that amounts to deciding what rules should govern the kindergarten based on what might cause too many tantrums. (Perhaps if I'd ever been a K-school teach, I be more inclined toward this compromise).

I can't remeber which Justices I most often agree with, nor do I have Breyer's record in mind. All indications to this observer are that Breyer's reasoning, using whimpy logic and prose as shown above, sets a lower tone than even the Court's low standard. Guessing (prior to looking at the details) Scalia is on the side of 10 Commandments in public buildings, it's interesting that one of the best minds who could excoriate Breyer for his "how can we all just get along" reasoning, is in fact on his side (for logical reasons one would hope).

... looking up Scalia... in news article....

Logical Reasons, perhaps not: examine Scalia....

[What Justice Antonin Scalia wanted — and could not get from most of his colleagues — was a robust statement that religion is not merely part of America’s heritage but a vibrant part of American society and government today.]

Using this from Scalia, you have nothing standing out as logic being applied to the situation. Rather, you simply have a cultural bias being expressed as right because of it's imputed value (in the jurist's mind, i.e. public emphasis on historically embraced religious values and symbols being more valuable to our Republic over neutrality on such matters).

Whatever the dubious quality of this ruling, given the current political climate I think it can be assumed that future rulings will fall further from reasoned enlightenment.

All in all, this ruling is not unexpected (muddled, illogical, and unlikely to stand for long), considering that decisions such as Bush v. Gore are part of this Court's legacy.

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