This week Luciano and I discuss the recently decided SCOTUS case Trinity Lutheran v. Comer. We debate the merits of the case, discuss the nuanced differences in opinion between justices, and wonder what's next in church-state jurisprudence with Utica College political science professor Daniel Tagliarina.
The Benito Juárez Experience #16: Trinity Lutheran
Trinity Lutheran v. Comer Opinion
A Major Church-State Ruling That Shouldn't Have Happened (Garrett Epstein, The Atlantic)
Written by Professor Tagliarina
Free Exercise on the Playground
How Roberts Blurs Church and State in Trinity Lutheran Case
Various Interpretations of First Amendment in Trinity Lutheran Case
I sometimes think that in the minds of conservatives, the best constitutional scholars in this country are not in the Supreme Court, in the halls of our top universities, or in the offices of major legal institutions. The rhetoric about people coming to the United States and immediately gaming the system suggests that in the minds of anti-immigrant conservatives (a Venn diagram that becomes smaller each passing day) our most brilliant legal minds are those who risk life and family to come to undocumented into this country.
Now, a judge thinks that the brilliant legal minds coming to the country includes the thousands of children detained trying to cross the border. According to Judge Jack Weil based in Virginia, children as young as age 3 can be explained our immigration laws and can forgo legal representation.
I’ve taught immigration law literally to 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds. It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of patience … They get it. It’s not the most efficient, but it can be done.
–Judge Jack Weil
I think that his logic opens wide open the pool of candidates to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. But in all seriousness, this is appalling. This is the same logic that condones charging children as adults. Children of color in this country are not allowed to be kids, they are dangerous minds from birth and not worthy of civil or human rights. And yet we ask why Donald Trump is so popular.
These are the characteristics that a President Obama-nominated candidate to fill the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat that the Republican Senate will find inspiring and hard-to-pass on:
- Ivy League-educated (preferably if he overcame the barriers of potentially losing his space to an affirmative action candidate because he was a legacy admission)
- A long legal career in the law firm of his CEO father’s best buddy from the country club
- During that legal career, standing up against tyranny such as the estate tax, environmental regulations, or any program that improves the lives of poor people.