Professor Barry McDonald, "Eviscerating a Healthy Church-State Separation" -- Washington University Law Review
Professor Barry P. McDonald's article, "Eviscerating a Healthy Church-State Separation," (SSRN) has been published in the Washington University Law Review [96 Wash. U. L. Rev. 1009]. The article, which is co-authored with UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, examines the decision in the Supreme Court case, Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer.
Abstract of ""Eviscerating a Healthy Church-State Separation""
In June of 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued one of its first major church-state rulings in some time. In Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, it held that the federal Free Exercise Clause required the State of Missouri to provide direct funding to an arm of a church despite an anti-establishment clause in the Missouri Constitution which barred it. This article argues that the decision was contrary to American constitutional history at both the federal and state level, was not faithful to Court precedent in this area, and was contrary to sound constitutional policy in the area of church-state relations. Most importantly, it argues that the Court's reasoning will open the door to increased governmental funding of churches and other devotional communities, all to the detriment of a healthy separation of church and state that is vital for religion to thrive and the state to properly perform its functions.