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Resolved: The SCOTUS “separation” interpretation of the first amendment is not sound reasoning matching James Madison's intent

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Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Religion
Time for argument
Two days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
Two weeks
Point system
Four points
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Rated
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Contender / Con
Open
Description
When SCOTUS first determined that the first amendment had an implied clause, to wit: “the separation of church and state,” as an interpretation of the entitlement clause, they had sound reasoning in agreement with the intent of James Madison. I, Pro, will argue on this point: the reasoning was not sound in that it did not reflect the intent of James Madison. Con will argue the opposing view, that the SCOTUS interpretation was sound; that it agreed with James Madison’s intent.
Text of the first amendment [only relative to the debate]: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
Definitions: Establishment clause: the first bolded phrase of the text.
Exercise clause: the second bolded phrase of the text.
Separation of church and state: the phrase is attributed to Thomas Jefferson, from an 1802 letter of his composition to the Danbury Baptists Association of Connecticut, writing: “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.” - https://teachinghistory.org/history-content/ask-a-historian/24441
The separation phrase was adopted by the Supreme Court decision of Reynolds v United States [1878], to wit: “until the time of James I, [polygamy] was punished through the instrumentality of those tribunals not merely because ecclesiastical rights had been violated, but because upon the separation of the ecclesiastical courts from the civil the ecclesiastical were supposed to be the most appropriate for the trial of matrimonial causes and offences against the rights of marriage…”
https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/98/145/#tab-opinion-1970076
Debate protocol:
The Burdon of Proof [BoP] shall be shared by participants
Rounds 1, 2, 3: Argument/Rebuttal/Defense
Round 4: Final Defense and Conclusion. No new argument allowed.
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