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Supreme Court decisions and public opinion concerning First Amendment religious liberties, 1947-2011.

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dc.contributor.advisor Waltman, Jerold L., 1945-
dc.contributor.author Cook, Tracy L.
dc.date.copyright 2012-05
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2104/8416
dc.description.abstract It has often been noted that the Supreme Court’s decisions regarding prayer and Bible reading in public schools are inconsistent with public opinion. This is in contrast to the overall findings of congruence between the Court’s decisions and public opinion more generally. However, no study has provided a comprehensive view of the relationship specifically for the Court’s First Amendment religious liberty jurisprudence. This research analyzes the relationship between Supreme Court decisions and public opinion concerning the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause. Using nationally representative public opinion polls as evidence of public opinion, the results of this study are that, generally speaking, the Court has issued opinions that have been consistent with public opinion in a majority of its decisions dealing with the First Amendment’s religion clauses. In addition, trend analysis denotes the possibility that consistency is slightly higher. Further, when a clear public opinion expression is present (at least fifty-five percent of public opinion supports a position on an issue) the level of congruence between the Court’s decisions and public opinion is almost seventy percent. While the Court is inconsistent with public opinion on some issues, primarily regarding stand-alone displays of religious symbols on government property and prayer at school events, these issues appear to be the exception. Overall, the Court has shown a general level of agreement with public opinion in its decisions concerning the First Amendment’s religion clauses. en_US
dc.publisher en
dc.rights Baylor University theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. Contact librarywebmaster@baylor.edu for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.subject Supreme Court decisions. en_US
dc.subject Public opinion. en_US
dc.subject First Amendment religious liberties. en_US
dc.title Supreme Court decisions and public opinion concerning First Amendment religious liberties, 1947-2011. en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.degree Ph.D. en_US
dc.rights.accessrights Worldwide access. en_US
dc.rights.accessrights Access changed 1/13/14.
dc.contributor.department Church and State. en_US
dc.contributor.schools Baylor University. Institute of Church-State Studies. en_US


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