I'm an essayist, commentator, lawyer and reporter with expertise in Constitutional Law, United States History, religion and public education. I cover current issues involving the First Amendment religion clauses, modern religious movements, scientific history and developments and the events in which these areas converge.
legalfeet has written 44 posts for legalfeet

A Brief History Lesson

Last week Republican Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana delivered some remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. Notably, he said that Thomas Jefferson was the author of the Constitution which is not true. Jefferson was out of the country while the Constitution was drafted; James Madison was its principle architect. But of even greater concern was … Continue reading

Active Shooter

I don’t think I had ever expected to smell gunpowder on a sunny Friday morning in the public library. Because I volunteer with a group that raises money for the library, I spend a decent amount of time at our main branch. Last week I attended active shooter training at a smaller, branch library along … Continue reading

Newsblog 5

Forgive the long absence. I’ve been working on my first book, and will be doing so for months to come, but I just wanted to get an update out there.   Two men were killed and a third injured when they confronted a white supremacist who was harassing a young Muslim woman and her friend … Continue reading

Newsblog 3

Newsblog 3: The next few posts will be devoted to brief profiles of Trump’s cabinet picks from separation of church and state and science literacy standpoints. Rex Tillerson-Sec. of State: former CEO of Exxon Mobil; as CEO rejected a push by shareholders to pivot to renewables; not a climate change denier but not a fan … Continue reading

Newsblog 2

  These are very busy days for anyone engaged in the work of protecting the Constitution and the rights it guarantees. A veritable avalanche of proposed legislation, executive orders, and new laws that threaten our rights is bearing down on all of us. It’s hard to keep up with the growing number of assaults on … Continue reading

Newsblog 1

Happy New Year. It’s 2017 and here is the first in a series of short newsblogs on what’s happening in the world of separation of Religion and State. Back in December, the Bureau of the State House approved a request by Andover Republican Representative James Lyons to display a Nativity scene in the Massachusetts State … Continue reading

Yes, You Can Still Pray in School if You Want To

For years, certain Christians from more conservative faith traditions have asserted that the Supreme Court in a series of decisions in the 1950s, 60s and 70s essentially outlawed God in the classroom. These claims, rooted in the backlash against protecting religious diversity and freedom, are untrue. Religious group meetings, prayer, and Bible study are all … Continue reading

Blue State Special

In recent years, Massachusetts has not been a hotbed of Separation of Church and State or Free Exercise controversy. We were the first to legalize same sex marriage and the legislature just enacted strong protections for the LGBT community. Our population is religiously diverse, and not given to zealotry. There are a lot of non-theists … Continue reading

Anti-LGBT Laws: An Update

  What’s happening with all of these so-called religious freedom bills and laws? The news has been filled with reports of statutes with innocuous titles like the Free Exercise Protection Act and the First Amendment Defense Act, being enacted to shield business owners and public officials from liability for discriminating against LGBT individuals. We see … Continue reading

When Accommodation Becomes Establishment

This morning the Supreme court will hear arguments in Zubik v. Burwell, which is the name for seven cases which have been consolidated and will be considered all together. The issue is quite simple. Under the Affordable Care Act, certain religious organizations and non-profits are allowed to claim an exemption from covering contraception under their … Continue reading


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