May 19, 2011

Steve Papadimos: The First Amendment – Part One

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 11:02 pm by Steve Papadimos

Steve Papadimos serves as the Chief of the Civil Division at the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office in Toledo, Ohio. Mr. Papadimos earned his law degree at the University of Toledo College of Law and has served at the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office for more than three decades.

Along with serving the best interests of the public, Mr. Papadimos also shares his insights into the law via speaking and writing. One of Steve Papadimos’ lectures is about the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The First Amendment establishes important freedoms that have played a significant role throughout the history. Each clause of the text outlines freedoms that Americans value today. The text is quoted, with discussion after each clause.

1. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion:”

This clause, also known as the “establishment clause” was originally intended to apply to the federal government; however, a 1947 ruling Everson v. the Board of Education also translated it to the states. Argument exists regarding whether this clause separates church and state or merely prevents the government from establishing an “official” church.

2. “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof:”

This clause expounds upon the establishment clause, protecting the free exercise of religion and prohibiting persecution. Supreme Court rulings have determined that the federal government must have a compelling interest to refuse religious accommodation, while states must not target a particular religion’s practices. In part two of this series, Steve Papadimos shares insights into the remaining three clauses of the First Amendment, including freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assembly and petition.