Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pizza and Bridges.

Today in class we discussed a few cases pertaining to the free exercise and free establishment clauses in the US Constitution. The main case that we spent the most time on was Lemon v. Kurtzman. In this case a couple states were giving funding to public and private schools for teacher salaries and other school resources. The statutes that provided the funding required that in private schools the teachers must teach secular subjects (history, science, mathematics, etc.) so that the law would not be promoting one specific religion by funding religious based classes. The Supreme Court ruled that the statutes were unconstitutional because they created too much entanglement between the government and establishment of religion. They ruled that even indirectly supporting religiously motivated schools and teachers, even if the specific class is secular, is unconstitutional. Through this case the Lemon Test was formed. This three pronged test was designed to help determine whether a law was too supportive of religion or not. The three parts are: the law must have a secular legislative purpose, the primary/principal effect of the law can neither advance nor inhibit any religion, and the law cannot foster excessive entanglement between government and religion. The court ruled that the state statutes violated the third part of this test. This was because since some of the schools were catholic and christian schools and since many of the teachers in those schools were of strong religious backgrounds, there would inevitably be teachers imposing religious values on the students. I found all the religion cases we read to be so interesting and I am ready to dive into the next set of cases!

Shahryar, me, Margaret, Emily, and Claire.
In the evening Margaret, Emily, Claire, my suite mate Shahryar, and myself took an RA trip to a pizza restaurant and the Brooklyn Bridge. At first we were miserable. None of us brought umbrellas or rain clothes and it was POURING. After getting thoroughly soaked waiting outside the pizza place, we finally got in. Margaret and I shared a large sausage and mushroom pizza (not a good idea in hindsight). The pizza was AMAZING. The cheese was creamy and delicious and the crust was just crunchy enough but not too soft. After we ate the rain had stopped and had left beautiful clouds and sky, perfect for a walk across the bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge was absolutely stunning. We went at just the right time and the whole scene was beautiful  I took about 100 photos and the photographer inside me was dancing with glee. What seemed like a disastrous trip turned out to be so much fun and I am so glad I am becoming better friends with some, and making new friends with others! I am excited for 4th of July tomorrow!

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