The Burger Court (1969–86)

First Amendment

Which of the three dissenters in Wallace v. Jaffree criticized the Court’s entire Establishment Clause jurisprudence since 1947?

Justice William Rehnquist noted that the U.S. Supreme Court in 1947 had quoted former president Thomas Jefferson’s phrase “wall of separation between church and state” to describe the meaning of the Establishment Clause. Rehnquist said that “the Establishment Clause has been expressly freighted with Jefferson’s misleading metaphor for nearly 40 years.” Rehnquist cited many examples of religious influences in public life and said that there was “no historical foundation” for the Court’s interpretation of the Establishment Clause.


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