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U.S. Supreme Court

Scalia ‘Disturbed’ About Church-State Separation ‘Lie’

Posted Apr 11, 2008 7:15 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Justice Antonin Scalia is nothing if not quotable. In his latest speech yesterday, he confessed to being disturbed about claims the Constitution erects a strict wall of separation between church and state.

Scalia pointed out that legislative sessions begin with a prayer and American currency contains the phrase “In God we trust,” the Daily Progress reports. He said these historical understandings show that claims of a strict separation between church and state are bunk.

“All sorts of things just shout out ‘It’s a lie! It’s a lie!’ ” he said. “That’s what I’m disturbed about.”

“If you want to enact a statute that says the president can never say ‘God bless America,’ then I have no problem with that,” he said. “Just don’t tell me that the Constitution prohibits it.”

Scalia spoke at the University of Virginia law school, where he taught 37 years ago. He has been giving a series of well-publicized speeches as he promotes a new book that he co-wrote with Bryan Garner on the art of judicial persuasion.

Scalia said his views weren’t that far afield from those of Thomas Jefferson, the founder of the law school, The HooK reports. “I have been a centrist jurist,” he said, “at least, by my standards.”

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