Religion and the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 1999
More often than is comfortable for this nation, laws are created and passed by quietly attaching them to some legislation that is desirable and likely to be passed through Congress. That recently happened when the House of Representatives passed the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 1999. The following is an example of the insanity produced by a Congress that is deeply beholden to the deep pockets of the Religious Right.
Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 1999 (Engrossed in House)
SEC. 114. RELIGIOUS NONDISCRIMINATION.
The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C. 5601 et seq.) is amended by inserting before title III the following:
SEC. 299J. (a) A governmental entity that receives a grant under this title and that is authorized by this title to carry out the purpose for which such grant is made through contracts with, or grants to, non-governmental entities may use such grant to carry out such purpose through contracts with or grants to religious organizations.
TITLE XI--LIMITATION ON RECOVERY OF ATTORNEYS FEES IN CERTAIN CASES
SEC. 1101. LIMITATION ON RECOVERY OF ATTORNEYS FEES IN CERTAIN CASES.
Section 722(b) of the Revised Statutes of the United States (42 U.S.C. 1988(b)) is amended--
(1) by striking 'In' and inserting 'Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, in';
(2) by striking ', except that' and inserting '. However,'; and
(3) by adding at the end the following:'Attorneys' fees under this section may not be allowed in any action claiming that a public school or its agent violates the constitutional prohibition against the establishment of religion by permitting, facilitating, or accommodating a student's religious expression.
TITLE XII -- RIGHTS TO RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
SEC. 1201. FINDINGS.
The Congress finds the following:
(1) The Declaration of Independence declares that governments are instituted to secure certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, with which all human beings are endowed by their Creator and to which they are entitled by the laws of nature and of nature's God.
(2) The organic laws of the United States Code and the constitutions of every State, using various expressions, recognize God as the source of the blessings of liberty.
(3) The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States secures rights against laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof made by the United States Government.
(4) The rights secured under the First Amendment have been interpreted by courts of the United States Government to be included among the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment.
(5) The Tenth Amendment reserves to the States respectively the powers not delegated to the United States Government nor prohibited to the States.
(6) Disputes and doubts have arisen with respect to public displays of the Ten Commandments and to other public expression of religious faith.
(7) Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment grants the Congress power to enforce the provisions of the said amendment.
(8) Article I, Section 8, grants the Congress power to constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court, and Article III, Section 1, grants the Congress power to ordain and establish courts in which the judicial power of the United States Government shall be vested.
SEC. 1202. RELIGIOUS LIBERTY RIGHTS DECLARED.
(a) DISPLAY OF TEN COMMANDMENTS- The power to display the Ten Commandments on or within property owned or administered by the several States or political subdivisions thereof is hereby declared to be among the powers reserved to the States respectively.
(b) EXPRESSION OF RELIGIOUS FAITH- The expression of religious faith by individual persons on or within property owned or administered by the several States or political subdivisions thereof is hereby--
(1) declared to be among the rights secured against laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise of religion made or enforced by the United States Government or by any department or executive or judicial officer thereof; and
(2) declared to be among the liberties of which no State shall deprive any person without due process of law made in pursuance of powers reserved to the States respectively.
(c) EXERCISE OF JUDICIAL POWER- The courts constituted, ordained, and established by the Congress shall exercise the judicial power in a manner consistent with the foregoing declarations.