Showing posts from February, 2013

Joseph Story’s take on the 1st Amendment

Joseph Story (1779-1845) was an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court (1811-1845). He is remembered most for his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, published in 1833, a work that set the benchmark for interpreting the Constitution for the rest of the 19th century. In his discussion of the First Amendment, he puts the lie to the modern secularist interpretation of the establishment clause.
How far any government has a right to interfere in matters touching religion, has been a subject much discussed by writers upon public and political law. The right and the duty of the interference of government, in matters of religion, have been maintained by many distinguished authors, as well those, who were the warmest advocates of free governments, as those, who were attached to governments of a more arbitrary character. Indeed, the right of a society or government to interfere in matters of religion will hardly be contested by any persons, who believe that piety…