Masters of Illusion: The Supreme Court and the Religion Clauses

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9780814775851: Masters of Illusion: The Supreme Court and the Religion Clauses
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Many legal theorists and judges agree on one major premise in the field of law and religion: that religion clause jurisprudence is in a state of disarray and has been for some time. In Masters of Illusion, Frank S. Ravitch provocatively contends that both hard originalism (a strict focus on the intent of the Framers) and neutrality are illusory in religion clause jurisprudence, the former because it cannot live up to its promise for either side in the debate and the latter because it is simply impossible in the religion clause context. Yet these two principles have been used in almost every Supreme Court decision addressing religion clause questions.

Ravitch unpacks the various principles of religion clause interpretation, drawing on contemporary debates such as school prayer and displaying the Ten Commandments on courthouses, to demonstrate that the neutrality principle does not work in a pluralistic society. When defined by large, overarching principles of equality and liberty, neutrality fails to account for differences between groups and individuals. If, however, the Court drew on a variety of principles instead of a single notion of neutrality to decide whether or not laws facilitated or discouraged religious practices, the result could be a more equitable approach to religion clause cases.

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About the Author:

Frank S. Ravitch is Professor of Law at Michigan State University College of Law. He is the author of School Prayer and Discrimination, Law and Religion, A Reader: Cases, Concepts and Theory, and Employment Discrimination Law.

Review:

“An outstanding contribution to the scholarly debates on the interpretation of the First Amendment religion clauses. [Ravitch’s] biting critical analyses of the currently popular principles of neutrality and liberty are especially important.”
-Stephen M. Feldman,editor of Law and Religion: A Critical Anthology



Masters of Illusion is filled with penetrating analysis and original insights about freedom of religion. Ravitch’s discussions of neutrality, sex education, religious symbols, and his proposal for handling freedom of religion issues are particularly valuable.”
-Steven H. Shiffrin,author of Dissent, Injustice, and the Meanings of America



“A significant scholarly endeavor to better comprehend the specific constitutional criteria that have been used regarding freedom of religion and the Establishment clause in the US.”
- Law and Politics Book Review



“Part legal history and part recommendations for future strategies, Courting Change is a fascinating study of LGBT family law.”
-Bay Windows

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Book Description New York University Press, United States, 2007. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Many legal theorists and judges agree on one major premise in the field of law and religion: that religion clause jurisprudence is in a state of disarray and has been for some time. In Masters of Illusion, Frank S. Ravitch provocatively contends that both hard originalism (a strict focus on the intent of the Framers) and neutrality are illusory in religion clause jurisprudence, the former because it cannot live up to its promise for either side in the debate and the latter because it is simply impossible in the religion clause context. Yet these two principles have been used in almost every Supreme Court decision addressing religion clause questions.Ravitch unpacks the various principles of religion clause interpretation, drawing on contemporary debates such as school prayer and displaying the Ten Commandments on courthouses, to demonstrate that the neutrality principle does not work in a pluralistic society. When defined by large, overarching principles of equality and liberty, neutrality fails to account for differences between groups and individuals. If, however, the Court drew on a variety of principles instead of a single notion of neutrality to decide whether or not laws facilitated or discouraged religious practices, the result could be a more equitable approach to religion clause cases. Seller Inventory # AAC9780814775851

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Book Description New York University Press, United States, 2007. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Many legal theorists and judges agree on one major premise in the field of law and religion: that religion clause jurisprudence is in a state of disarray and has been for some time. In Masters of Illusion, Frank S. Ravitch provocatively contends that both hard originalism (a strict focus on the intent of the Framers) and neutrality are illusory in religion clause jurisprudence, the former because it cannot live up to its promise for either side in the debate and the latter because it is simply impossible in the religion clause context. Yet these two principles have been used in almost every Supreme Court decision addressing religion clause questions.Ravitch unpacks the various principles of religion clause interpretation, drawing on contemporary debates such as school prayer and displaying the Ten Commandments on courthouses, to demonstrate that the neutrality principle does not work in a pluralistic society. When defined by large, overarching principles of equality and liberty, neutrality fails to account for differences between groups and individuals. If, however, the Court drew on a variety of principles instead of a single notion of neutrality to decide whether or not laws facilitated or discouraged religious practices, the result could be a more equitable approach to religion clause cases. Seller Inventory # AAC9780814775851

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