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Jeffersonian Walls and Madisonian Lines: The Supreme Court's Use of History and the First Amendment's Religion Clauses

In Everson v. Board of Education, Justice Wiley Rutledge observed that "[n]o provision of the Constitution is more closely tied to or given content by its generating history than the religious clause of the First Amendment. It is at once the refined product and the terse summation of that history." Dr. Hall begins his talk by evaluating the Supreme Court's use of history in religion clause cases. He shows that judicial liberals are slightly more likely to make historical arguments than are judicial conservatives, but that they draw selectively from a few unrepresentative founders to support their view that the Establishment Clause requires the strict separation of church and state. Hall argues that this is simply not the case, and offers a counter narrative that more accurately reflects the founders' views on the proper relationship between church and state.

Mark David Hall has been at George Fox since 2001. He received a BA in political science from Wheaton College and a PhD in political science from the University of Virginia. Mark's primary research and writing interests are American political theory and the relationship between religion and politics. He has written or co-edited The Political and Legal Philosophy of James Wilson, 1742-1798 (1997); The Founders on God and Government (2004); Collected Works of James Wilson 2 vol. (2007); The Forgotten Founders on Religion and Public Life (2009); The Sacred Rights of Conscience: Selected Readings on Religious Liberty and Church-State Relations in the American Founding (2009); America's Forgotten Founders (2011), and Roger Sherman and the Creation of the American Republic (Oxford University Press, 2013). He has also written more than fifty journal articles, book chapters, reviews, and sundry pieces. He is currently co-editing Faith and the Founders of the American Republic (forthcoming, Oxford University Press) and co-authoring a book tentatively titled America's "Godless" Constitution, Deist Founders, and other Myths About Religion and the American Founding. Mark also serves as a Senior Fellow at Baylor University's Institute for the Studies of Religion.

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