Home Government Bigotry Still in Evidence at the Supreme Court

Bigotry Still in Evidence at the Supreme Court

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Erich Salomon via Wikimedia Commons

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this referred to the “separation” clause of the 1st Amendment. This was in error. The section referred to is known as the “establishment” clause and the piece has been edited to reflect that.”

In a remarkable turn of events, four members of the United States Supreme Court recently affirmed the constitutionality of state-sponsored religious bigotry. On June 30, by a vote of 5-4, the court struck down a Montana law barring the inclusion of religious schools as an option for families participating in educational choice programs – with the court’s liberal wing in opposition to the majority.

In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the justices answered what the non-profit Institute for Justice called the “open question” arising from previous decisions in cases like 2002’s Zelman v. Simmons-Harris whether religious institutions could be explicitly excluded from choice programs.

The national effort to ban government support for Catholic schools goes back to the 1880s. The Republican Party, following the leadership of one-time House Speaker, U.S. Senator, and 1884 GOP presidential candidate James G. Blaine attempted to hamper the rise in influence of the Catholic immigrants coming from Europe in large numbers, in part through the use of “Blaine Amendments” that blocked state funding for religious schools.

Writing for the majority in Espinoza, Chief Justice Roberts cited them as being “born of bigotry,” adding that the “no-aid provisions of the 19th century hardly evince a tradition that should inform our understanding of the Free Exercise Clause.” The Court also said the “exclusion [of religious schools] from the scholarship program here is ‘odious to our Constitution’ and ‘cannot stand.’”

The Blaine Amendments were pushed by the kinds of people who, in 1884, referred to the Democrats as the “The Party of Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion.” It was a slogan that likely cost Blaine the White House while the state constitutional amendments named for him are a stain on the records of those who supported them, the states that adopted them, and the country as a whole. Yet it was liberal Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan who in essence affirmed them by refusing to join the majority in Espinoza.

The anti-Catholicism of the period wasn’t limited to the schools. The same concerns that drove the Blaine Amendments produced groups like Planned Parenthood, whose leader, Margaret Sanger, spread the efficacy of birth control among poorer Catholics in the cities. Her motivation, to keep Catholics from having so many children, is well documented even if modern historians tend to overlook it.

Had this been an issue that involved race, the dissenters – had there been any – would have had their decisions linked unfavorably to such odious court rulings as the ones made in Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson. But, because Espinoza involved religious bigotry, its antecedents are overlooked and the justices on the wrong side have not been called to account. That’s because, for too long, the “establishment clause” of the 1st Amendment has been given decided preference over the “free exercise” provision. As the latest decision hints, however, a day of reckoning when the two sections of the amendment concerning religious freedom must at least be given equal weight is coming.

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Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
27 days ago

Replace USSC with AI system, problem: programming AI
Benefits:
Rapid response
Acess Law arcvhieves from Dbase
24/7 USSC
No judges no pay $$$
Cheaper than judge

Jojodmonkey
Jojodmonkey
25 days ago

That’s all good and fine until you get satanic input from democrats in the AI system!
Just need to get rid of all democrats and RINOs

N A
25 days ago
Reply to  Jojodmonkey

SPOT ON !

A. D Roberts
24 days ago

Too bad the writer of this article did not limit his on prejudice. You see, the Catholics have abused our system much as the mormons in Utah with Mitt Romney try to. While it is true that the religious groups should not be discriminated against because they are backed by a religion, I wonder at just how badly the Catholics abuse protestants yet today.
Do you trust them? They are just as bad as mormons and muslims.

Jojodmonkey
Jojodmonkey
25 days ago

The Supreme Court has five members that are total racist and bigots! All the democrats plus Roberts the RINO!

N A
25 days ago
Reply to  Jojodmonkey

ON POINT ! RADICAL RACIST BIGOT’S. In the SCOTUS !!

Jo Scott
Jo Scott
25 days ago
Reply to  Jojodmonkey

EXACTLY. ROBERTS IS PROBABLY GETTING PAID.

CrustyOldGeezer
CrustyOldGeezer
25 days ago

ANY FAMILY that send their children to Private or Religion Based educational facilities should be EXEMPT from ANY FORM OF TAXATION that supports the government school systems.

How many Property owners/RENTERS would consider BETTER OPTIONS for THEIR Children iis they weren’t BURDENED by the FORCED PAYMENTS to the pubic skrewl system?

N A
25 days ago

ALL SCHOOLS SHOULD BE DEFUNDED ! ALL THEY ARE IS A MONEY HUNGARY SYSTEM . THE SCHOOL’S NOW DAYS ARE NOT IN SESSION HALF THE TIME . THE SCHOOL YEAR IS SUBPOST TO BE 280 DAYS A YEAR ! BUT A ORDINARY SCHOOL
ONLY GO 180 DAYS A YEAR . BECAUSE FOR INSTANCE TEACHERS HAVE A TEACHERS PRE DAY EVERY MONTH THEN I HAVE FOUR DAYS OUT OUT SCHOOL FOR (4 ) HOLIDAYS AT THE FIRST STARTING IN JANUARY THEN U HAVE SPRING BREAK , MEMORIAL DAY , THEN SCHOOLS OUT UNTIL AUGUST THEN U
HAVE LABOR DAY , FALL BREAK , HOLIDAY SEASON BREAK BESIDES ALL THE DAYS THAT TEACHERS NEED TO FIGURE OUT GRADES ( 4 ) TIMES A YEAR. THAT’S WHY U’ R DON’T LEARN WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSE TO LEARN. I KNOW I’M A TEACHER !
AND HALF OF THE TEACHERS ARE MONEY 💰💰💰💰 HUNGRY.
THEY WANT SOMETHING FOR NOTHING . I WAS A TEACHER BUT NOW RETIRED .

pj
pj
25 days ago
Reply to  N A

I’d suggest that YOU spend a LOT MORE time studying and learning spelling and how to write intelligent sentences.

Elissa Masters
24 days ago
Reply to  pj

I was just about to post the same thing. The spelling and grammar are awful.

Truckman
Truckman
24 days ago
Reply to  N A

they are also the ones teaching these young people how to hate this country and giving them the sorrist education in the history of our nation close them all down

Barbara
Barbara
25 days ago

What would happen if the parents who send their children to non public schools did not pay the school bond taxes? These same parents could designate which school receives their money.

In Canada that is how the schools are funded. The tax payer checks the box as to which school their taxes are to support.

N A
25 days ago
Reply to  Barbara

NO ! THEY DON’T.

Alan
Alan
25 days ago

Given that fallible human beings sit on the court, who is surprised? Disappointed perhaps, surprised I would not think so.

Eunice LaSpisa
Eunice LaSpisa
25 days ago

I din’t care what people say, everyone is a BIGOT OR A RACIST in one form or another.
Now with that said- what I think we need is a revamping of our entire Court system, judicial system, political system, & government -where we the people take charge, we the people can be the judges of cases, & vote on them like we were jurors, running for political office-no lobbyist should be aloud to support any candidate-must be born in the USA-politicians must pay for their own campaigns, this way no one can be bought. All terms must limited-to prevent politicians from getting to comfortable. We the people pay their salaries with our taxes, so we the people should be the ones to give government politicians of all kinds if they deserve a raise, we the people should be asked if the government employees can go on holiday (vacation). The politicians & top government employees should get 47% not 80% for their retirement payments, also, they should get the same medical options that they dictate to us-but no The receive the Highest & Most costly medical plan in their medical plan AT TAX PAYERS COST. Sorry for being long winded-but it is high time we take our AMERICA BACK!!! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!

pj
pj
25 days ago

This bit in the article is SHEER idiocy; Abortion Should NEVER be legal except when required medically and never because the woman FORGOT to keep her legs closed and say “NO !!!”.

quote the idiocy:
“The same concerns that drove the Blaine Amendments produced groups like Planned Parenthood, whose leader, Margaret Sanger, spread the efficacy of birth control among poorer Catholics in the cities. Her motivation, to keep Catholics from having so many children, is well documented even if modern historians tend to overlook it.”

Gary
Gary
24 days ago

I had to read this a couple of times the way the article was written. It’s a GOOD thing that Robert voted with the Conservatives to INCLUDE Religious schools in Educational Choice striking down the Montana law that barred Religious schools from being included. The 4 Commie Judges voted to exclude religious schools. So, Roberts voted well this time but he is a WILD CARD that needs to be neutralized by getting one more real Conservative on the court.