An episodic podcast taking a closer look at landmark civil rights decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court. Host Joe Dunman walks listeners through the arguments and decisions of each case.
United States
13 episodes
since March 4, 2017


Photo courtesy New York Times In 1965, the Nebraska Unicameral legislature hired a Presbyterian minister as its official chaplain to deliver prayers before each session. 15 years later, maverick Nebraska senator Ernie Chambers sued, claiming the practice of paying a minister to deliver prayers before a government body violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.Chambers won in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. But in 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the case, and take up the question of whether legislative prayer, a tradition in the federal Congress and most of the states for over two centuries, created a constitutional problem.Bypassing precedent set just a decade before, the Court, by a vote of 6-3, upheld the Nebraska chaplain scheme, ruling that the practice of legislative prayer, even when exclusively Christian in substance and compensated with state funds, was part of a unique national history and therefore not unconstitutional. Question:  Did the chaplaincy practice of the Nebraska legislature violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment?Answer: No.Majority:Warren Burger (majority opinion)Byron WhiteHarry BlackmunLewis PowellWilliam RehnquistSandra Day O'ConnorDissent:William Brennan (w/ opinion)Thurgood MarshallJohn Paul Stevens (w/ opinion)Audio sources:"Ernie Chambers: Still Militant After All These Years""A Time for Burning"
Disclaimer: The podcast and artwork embedded on this page are from Joe Dunman, which is the property of its owner and not affiliated with or endorsed by Listen Notes, Inc.


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