Foreordained Failure: The Quest for a Constitutional Principle of Religious Freedom

Paperback | April 1, 1999

bySteven D. Smith

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Ever since the Supreme Court began enforcing the First Amendment's religion clauses in the 1940s, courts and scholars have tried to distill the meaning of those clauses into a useable principle of religious freedom. In this highly original work, Smith criticizes the main positions in thedebate and explains their misconceptions. He argues that efforts to find a principle of religious freedom in the "original meaning" are fruitless because the clauses were purely jurisdictional in nature: they were meant to place authority over questions of religion with the states, and nothing more.Contending that the perennial quest to distill religious freedom into a "principle," is futile, Smith advocates a fundamental reassessment of the premises upon which courts have proceeded in this area.

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Ever since the Supreme Court began enforcing the First Amendment's religion clauses in the 1940s, courts and scholars have tried to distill the meaning of those clauses into a useable principle of religious freedom. In this highly original work, Smith criticizes the main positions in thedebate and explains their misconceptions. He argu...

Steven D. Smith is Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame. He has taught and published extensively on legal subjects, including constitutional law and jurisprudence.

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Format:PaperbackPublished:April 1, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195132483

ISBN - 13:9780195132489

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"Smith's historical argument is powerfully presented."--Constitutional Commentary