Tag Archives: Natelson

New Evidence Reveals Why 19th Century Bans on Sectarian Aid are Unconstitutional

I misinterpret things my mom tells me to do all the time. Somehow “pick up your toys” sounds a lot like “go watch T.V.” when my favorite show is on. Those phrases are interchangeable to me. But, treating words that aren’t synonyms as interchangeable can have consequences–as I find out when my mom catches me watching Nickelodeon instead of doing my chores. In recent years, the meaning of sectarian has been conflated with the meaning of religious–especially in the debate surrounding Blaine Amendments. In his article in the Federalist Society Review, “Why Nineteenth Century Bans on ‘Sectarian’ Aid Are Facially Unconstitutional: New Evidence on Plain Meaning,” the Independence Institute’s constitutional jurisprudence expert Rob Natelson defines the critical difference between “sectarian” and “religious,” and the consequences this misinterpretation has led to in private school choice. Mr. Natelson’s article is comprised of three primary sections that support his claim: 1. Nineteenth Century Constitutional Provisions Show that “Sectarian” Had a Meaning Separate from “Religious” or “Denominational” This section focuses on the drafting of state constitutions and how the terms religious, denominational, and sectarian are used separately. Each has a distinguished meaning and are not used interchangeably in their respective clauses. 2. The Nineteenth […]