Friday, December 01, 2023

RIP Sandra Day O'Connor

Reasonable minds can disagree about how to apply the Religion Clauses in a given case.  But the goal of the Clauses is clear: to carry out the Founders' plan of preserving religious liberty to the fullest extent possible in a pluralistic society.  By enforcing the Clauses, we have kept religion a matter for the individual conscience, not for the prosecutor or bureaucrat.  At a time when we see around the world the violent consequences of the assumption of religious authority by government, Americans may count themselves fortunate: Our regard for constitutional boundaries has protected us from similar travails, while allowing private religious exercise to flourish. [...]  Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?

-- Sandra Day O'Connor (26 March 1930 - 1 December 2023), American jurist, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1981 until 2006, serving as the first woman on the Supreme Court, McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union, 545 U.S. 844 (2005) (concurring)

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