Cover image for The Constitution & religion : leading Supreme Court cases on church and state
The Constitution & religion : leading Supreme Court cases on church and state
Alley, Robert S., 1932-
Publication Information:
Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
545 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
KF4865.A7 C66 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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This superb collection chronicles the most important Supreme Court cases on church-state relations over the past three decades. It includes extensive coverage of the Court's major decisions concerning prayer in state legislatures, the pledge of allegiance, display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings, religious displays on public property, school prayer, vouchers for religious schools, religion in science class, and much more.

Beginning with a carefully prepared historical overview, which places the first amendment in the context of 18th-century debates over religious freedom, Robert Alley offers a fresh analysis of the amendment's origins. He then presents fifty recent and historical cases without editorial comment, permitting readers to arrive at their own individual interpretations. In addition to the text of the majority decision, each case is followed by the vote of the justices as well as selected dissenting opinions.

Unlike news accounts and other texts, this unique volume is the only objective presentation of the justices' decisions, in the Court's own words, and it includes the entire canon of subjects that bear the label "church and state."

This clearly written, accessible book will be valuable for classroom use, as a library resource, and as an excellent introductory reader for anyone interested in what the Supreme Court has decided on religion in public places and schools.

Author Notes

Robert S. Alley (Richmond, VA) is professor emeritus of humanities at the University of Richmond. He is the author of Without a Prayer: Religious Expression in Public Schools and School Prayer: The Court, the Congress, and the First Amendment, and the editor of James Madison on Religious Liberty.