Does the Constitution compel state and local governments to subsidize religion? That question might seem preposterous, since the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause prohibits the government from funding religious exercise and limits its ability to fund religious facilities. Yet in 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court flipped the First Amendment on its head by ruling, for the first time ever, that the Constitution sometimes requires the government to provide public funds directly to a church. Its decision in Trinity Lutheran v. Comerblew a chunk out of the wall between church and state. And on Monday, Justice Brett Kavanaugh announced his intention to demolish the remainder of that wall by invalidating laws that bar government subsidization of religion.
“We knew there was one thing we could do without legislation,” the senior official told me. When Mulvaney sits down with the president to discuss the Cabinet secretaries’ performance, the official said, “Dereg is going to be top of the list.”
Why it matters: Trump relishes using the power of the presidency to do whatever he can without Congress.
John Roberts joined the liberals to save the constitutional right to choose—for now.
On Thursday night, the Supreme Court blocked a stringent Louisiana abortion law by a 5–4 vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the liberals to keep the measure on hold. Roberts’ vote is surprising, but not a total shock: The Louisiana statute is a direct violation of the Supreme Court’s 2016 ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, and until the court overturns that decision, the Louisiana law cannot take effect. To Roberts, this precedent matters. To Justice Brett Kavanaugh, it does not.