Duquesne Law Review


Seventeen years have passed since the Supreme Court chose the establishment clause of the First Amendment as the preferred reed through which to breathe modern relevance into an 18th century formulation of church-state relationships. Prior to 1947 the Court "had seldom undertaken to supply content to that part of the first amendment concerned with separation."' With the Everson decision, a period opened in which the commodious dimensions of the establishment concept invited the legal soul to trace out that grand design which presumably must distinguish and exalt the American understanding of the place of religion in society. Almost to a man, the Justices who have served the Court during these years have taken the occasion to set forth at length and with passion their convictions on this sensitive subject. Besides yielding a rich harvest for editors of Collected Papers, and feeding the rushing streams of judicial biography, the mass of words has excited an exquisite, and perhaps inevitable, confusion.

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