Saturday, September 30, 2006

Young: champion of the religious state

This is getting ridiculous. How many bad votes can one US Representative make?

Representative Don Young voted for HR 2679, the Public Expression of Religion Act. The bill prevents lawyers who've won suits against the government for violating the separation of church and state (known as the Establishment Clause) from collecting attorneys fees. This means that the lawyers have to take these cases on pro bono or be brought by those wealthy enough to sue the government (it's not cheap to do this). If the goverment has been found guilty of breaking the law in this manner, it should have to pay for the costs of bringing a lawsuit to get them to straighten up, it seems to me. In fact, as constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky points out in this Washington Post column, there is legal recognition of the barrier money plays for individuals, and a federal statute to provide for paying for fees in the event of a "defendent who acted wrongfully", in this case, the government.

The Public Expression of Religion Act is a deliberate attempt to prevent people from suing the goverment for wrongful action in supporting religion. (Attorneys don't get paid if they lose the lawsuit.) It's just one more attempt to cripple our Constitution.

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