Last updated on: 7/2/2008 | Author: ProCon.org

Religious Liberties Restoration Act (S. 1558) Overview

I. Summary

II. Co-Sponsors

III. Related Links

 

I. Summary

Sen. Wayne Allard, Republican from Colorado, introduced Senate Bill 1558, more commonly known as the Religious Liberties Restoration Act, on Aug. 1, 2003. This bill’s stated claim was to restore religious freedoms. It was then referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. It did not become law.

Religious Liberties Restoration Act found “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 secures rights against laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof made by the Federal Government.

(4) The rights secured under the first amendment have been interpreted by the Federal courts to be included among the provisions of the 14th amendment.

(5) The 10th amendment reserves to the States, respectively, the powers not delegated to the Federal 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 14th amendment grants Congress the power to enforce the provisions of the 14th amendment.

(8) Article III, section 2 of the Constitution grants Congress the authority to except certain matters from the jurisdiction of the Federal courts inferior to the Supreme Court.

SEC. 3. 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 of such States is among the powers reserved to the States, respectively.

(b) WORD `GOD’ IN PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – The power to recite the Pledge of Allegiance on or within property owned or administered by the several States or political subdivisions of such States is among the powers reserved to the States, respectively. The Pledge of Allegiance shall be, `I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and justice for all.’.

(c) MOTTO `IN GOD WE TRUST’- The power to recite the national motto on or within property owned or administered by the several States or political subdivisions of such States is among the powers reserved to the States, respectively. The national motto shall be, `In God we trust’.

(d) EXERCISE OF CONGRESSIONAL POWER TO EXCEPT- The subject matter of subsections (a), (b), and (c) are excepted from the jurisdiction of Federal courts inferior to the Supreme Court.”

See the full text of Religious Liberties Restoration Act (PDF)

 

II. Co-Sponsors

Senator’s Name State Party Date of Co-Sponsorship
Sam Brownback KS Republican Sept. 23, 2003
Jim Bunning KY Republican Oct. 20, 2003
Conrad Burns MT Republican Sept. 29, 2003
Thad Cochran MS Republican Sept. 30, 2003
Larry Craig ID Republican Oct. 21, 2003
Michael Enzi WY Republican Oct. 2, 2003
Lindsey Graham SC Republican Sept. 26, 2003
James Inhofe OK Republican Sept. 30, 2003
Trent Lott MS Republican Sept. 30, 2003
Zell Miller GA Democrat Feb. 10, 2004
Richard Shelby AL Republican Sept. 25, 2003

 

 

III. Related Links

1. Read the full text of Religious Liberties Restoration Act (PDF)

2. See similar Safeguarding Our Religious Liberties Act.

3. Research Congressional Actions on the Pledge of Allegiance.

4. Explanation of the First Amendment as it relates to the Pledge of Allegiance.

5. Pledge of Allegiance History 1887-Today