Saturday 26 May 2018
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First Amendment Survey

1st Amendment Word CloudConcerning religion the First Amendment states:


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...


For generations the Supreme Court relied completely on the clear and unambiguous wording of the First Amendment in its decisions. In a 1947 case, Everson v. Board of Education of the Township of Ewing, the Court asserted:


The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.


Subsequent Supreme Court cases began to rely on this phrase rather than the First Amendment itself. In fact, in recent decades the courts cited the First Amendment's  religion clauses in fewer than 3,000 cases, whereas the "wall of separation" metaphor has been cited more than 4,000 times. 


This recent reliance on a metaphor has resulted in courts striking down religious activities and expressions that previously been considered constitutional. Accordingly, many of these decisions mystify many citizens.


The purpose of this survey is to assess your position related to a constellation of recent First Amendment decisions. You'll be presented a random list of court findings and asked your views regarding the decision.