Monday, 27 January 2003

Unprecedented Establishment Clause Challenges?

How Appealing looks at a district court decision overturning the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 on the basis that it violates the establishment clause. A Roanoke Times article describes it as an "unprecedented challenge" to religious freedom.

It seems to me that it's very precedented: specifically, the so-called "Peyote Case" (Employment Division v. Smith, 494 US 872, 1990) and the subsquent case overturning the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which attempted to elevate religious freedom above other constitutional rights contra Smith (City of Boerne v. Flores, 117 S.Ct. 2157, 1998), both had similar findings, and both rejected the "compelling interest" standard that RLUIPA seems to have articulated.

Apollo 1 Remembered

Rand Simberg looks back at the 36th anniversary of the Apollo 1 disaster, which claimed the lives of astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chafee, and draws a parallel to the grounding of the Shuttle fleet after the Challenger disaster in 1996:

A key difference between this accident and the Challenger catastrophe was that in Apollo, we had a goal and a schedule. Accordingly, we dusted ourselves off, analyzed the problem, addressed it, and kept to the schedule.

With the Shuttle, the political reality was that there was no particular reason to fly Shuttles--no national commitment would be violated, no vital experiments wouldn't be performed, no objects would fall from the sky on our heads, and no elections would be lost, if the Shuttle didn't fly.

So, two and a half years after the Apollo I fire, we landed men on the Moon. Two and a half years after STS 51-L, the fleet was still grounded. It didn't fly again until two years, nine months later.

What a difference a couple decades make.

Seen at InstaPundit...


The Blix Brigade has made their report to the U.N., and it makes it fairly clear that the Iraqi government isn't cooperating or being at all forthcoming. Paul Miller suggests that the evidence of mustard gas precursors found by the inspectors constitutes a material breach, while Steven Den Beste continues to ask the obvious question: if the inspections haven't worked so far, why does the Axis of Weasels think they ought to continue? OxBlog's David Adesnik argues that British Prime Minister Tony Blair is showing himself to be a statesman, taking up the mantle of Winston Churchill. Finally, Bill Whittle reminds us that we're already at war, even if the Iraqi phase hasn't started yet.