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Blaine Amendment

The term Blaine Amendment refers to either a failed federal constitutional amendment or actual constitutional provisions that exist in 38 of the 50 state constitutions in the United States both of which forbid direct government aid to educational institutions that have any religious affiliation. All were aimed to stop aid to parochial schools, especially those operated by the Catholic Church in immigration centers.[1]

Contents

  • Proposed federal amendment 1
  • Amendments to state constitutions 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6

Proposed federal amendment

[2]

After Grant's speech Republican Congressman James G. Blaine (1830-1893) proposed the amendment to the federal Constitution. Blaine, who actively sought Catholic votes when he ran for president in 1884, believed that possibility of hurtful agitation on the school question should be ended.[3] In 1875, the proposed amendment passed by a vote of 180 to 7 in the House of Representatives, but failed by four votes to achieve the necessary two-thirds vote in the United States Senate. It never became law.

The proposed text was:

"No State shall make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; and no money raised by taxation in any State for the support of public schools, or derived from any public fund therefor, nor any public lands devoted thereto, shall ever be under the control of any religious sect; nor shall any money so raised or lands so devoted be divided between religious sects or denominations."

Amendments to state constitutions

Supporters of the proposal then turned their attention to state legislatures, where their efforts were met with far greater success: Eventually, all but 11 states (Arkansas, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia) passed laws that meet the general criteria for designation as "Blaine Amendments," in that they ban the use of public funds to support sectarian private schools.[4] In some states the laws were included in constitutions drafted by newly formed states concomitant with their admission to the Union and are thus technically not "amendments".

The state Blaine amendments are still in effect in many states.[5][6]

In 2012, a measure repealing the Blaine Amendment failed to win a simple majority in Florida. 60% approval was required for adoption.[7]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Deforrest (2003)
  3. ^ Steven Green (2010). The Second Disestablishment : Church and State in Nineteenth-Century America. Oxford University Press. p. 296. 
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ [3]
  6. ^ [4]
  7. ^ [5]

Further reading

  • Deforrest; Mark Edward. "An Overview and Evaluation of State Blaine Amendments: Origins, Scope, and First Amendment Concerns," Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 26, 2003 online edition
  • Green, Steven K. "The Blaine Amendment Reconsidered," 36 Am. J. Legal Hist. 38 (1992)

External links

  • The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty A leading opponent of Blaine Amendments in the legal arena
  • Blaineamendments.org A comprehensive resource by the Becket Fund, which seeks to overturn the amendments
  • School Choice: The Blaine Amendments & Anti-Catholicism Report by the United States Commission on Civil Rights
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