The First Amendment: Controversial Clauses

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The First Amendment: Controversial Clauses The First Amendment features two clauses relating to the freedom of religion. These clauses are known as the establishment clause and the free-exercise clause. The establishment clause forbids the government from establishing a religion (Janda 458). The free-exercise clause prevents government intervention in the exercise of religion (458). Both clauses have caused some controversial Supreme Court decisions. The establishment clause is prominent in two landmark cases, Engel v Vitale (1962) and Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971). In Engel v. Vitale, a New York state law required students to recite a nondenominational prayer at the beginning of the school day, a parent sued claiming that their child’s First Amendment right to freedom of religion was being violated. The court ruled six to one that the law was unconstitutional and violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment (“Facts”). This case made school prayer unconstitutional. In Lemon V. Kurtzman, a state program that would assist parochial schools in paying the salaries of …show more content…
One way of limiting the impact of the Supreme Court is to enact laws that restrict it. When the controversial decision of Roe V. Wade (1973) was made, many states enacted strict regulations in order to limit the number of abortions. For example, in Mississippi women are required to get state-directed counseling and wait twenty-four hours before getting an abortion (“State”). Another way to limit the impact of Supreme Court decisions is through judicial appointments. Currently president-elect Donald Trump has voiced his plan to appoint conservative judges that will likely overturn Roe v. Wade (De Vogue). Although, the Supreme Court is the final interpreter of the Constitution Supreme Court decisions can be limited through the actions of other political