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At a Crossroads: The Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause Jurisprudence

Though the First Amendment’s command that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” is straightforward, the Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause jurisprudence is anything but clear. To determine if a government action amounts to an establishment of religion, the Supreme Court has developed a number of tests looking for excessive entanglement, endorsement, or coercion, to name a few, that are inconsistently applied. When it comes to the constitutionality of passive displays on government property, such as the Ten Commandments, Christmas decorations, and war memorials with crosses, the lower courts are divided about how and when to apply the various tests, leading to unpredictable results. In The American Legion v. American Humanist Association, the Supreme Court has been asked to review the constitutionality of a 93-year-old World War I memorial in Bladensburg, Maryland that includes a 40-foot cross. Will the Supreme Court seize the opportunity to bring much-needed clarity to its Establishment Clause jurisprudence? What impact could a broad ruling have on religion in America? Join us at The Heritage Foundation the day after the oral argument at the Supreme Court as a panel of experts discuss these and many other questions surrounding this important issue.

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7/31/2020

Re-Designing the Marine Corps for Future War: Necessity or Madness?

General David H. Berger, Marine Corps Commandant, is aggressively pushing a dramatic redesign of the Corps for future war incorporating new missiles, advanced sensors, unmanned platforms, and hypervelocity weapons. HisForce Design 2030effort has drawn enthusiastic support from those who agree that the Corps must change to remain relevant on a more lethal battlefield. But it has generated an equally fervent amount of criticism from others who think the effort is overly focused on China—rendering the Corps irrelevant across a range of other potentially more likely scenarios. To achieve its vision, the Corps is doing away with tanks, reducing conventional artillery, shrinking units, and placing new demands on the Navy, already struggling to modernize its fleet. But it is adding anti-ship missiles, doubling-down on unmanned systems, and reenergizing a profound discussion about the importance of naval power.Will a redesigned Corps make it irrelevant for land operations against conventional militaries of larger state powers or irregular forces like terrorist groups? Or are General Berger’s designs essential to America’s future ability to conduct nearly any military operation in any theater against a host of potential enemies?Join us for an in-depth conversation about all of this with nationally recognized experts who hold informed opinions on both sides of this issue: Dr. Frank G. Hoffman, Lt. Col. USMCR (Ret.), Distinguished Research Fellow at the National Defense University, and Mark F. Cancian, Colonel, USMCR (Ret.), Senior Advisor, International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies.