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Douglas W. Kmiec

Biography: 

Professor and Caruso Family Chair in Constitutional Law, School of Law, Pepperdine University.

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HEAVEN CAN WAIT: Is the Pledge of Allegiance Unconstitutional?

with Erwin Chemerinsky, Douglas W. Kmiecvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 20, 2004

Is the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional? The original pledge, written in 1892 by the Christian socialist Francis Bellamy, did not contain the words "under God." Congress added these two words in 1954. And it is these words that caused the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to rule in June 2002 that recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools violated the First Amendment's so-called separation of church and state. Now the case is before the Supreme Court. Will the Court rule that reciting the current pledge in schools is okay, or do the words "under God" have to go?

ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL: The Separation of Church and State

with Douglas W. Kmiec, Garry Willsvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, January 6, 2004

The First Amendment of the Constitution declares in part that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." What did this amendment mean to the founders who wrote it? Did they intend to establish an inviolate "wall of separation between church and state"? Or was their intent instead to merely preserve religious freedom and prevent the establishment of a national religion?

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: The Supreme Court and the Texas Homosexual Conduct Law

with Pamela S. Karlan, Douglas W. Kmiecvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 28, 2003

A case currently before the Supreme Court challenges the constitutionality of the Texas Homosexual Conduct Law, which in 1974 legalized heterosexual sodomy but not same-sex sodomy. Does the Texas law violate the constitutional rights of homosexuals, or are states permitted to pass such laws if they choose? If the Supreme Court does strike down the Texas law, what implications will that have for other civil rights that gays and lesbians are seeking, such as same-sex marriage?

OFF TO THE RACES: The Supreme Court and Affirmative Action

with Vikram David Amar, Douglas W. Kmiecvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 28, 2003

The Supreme Court will soon announce its decisions on two cases that are being called the most important for affirmative action in a quarter century. These cases both challenge the use of racial preferences in the admissions policies at the University of Michigan. On one side of the legal dispute over the Michigan policies are those who argue that creating racial diversity on college campuses is a "compelling interest" that justifies the use of certain types of racial preferences in the admissions process. On the other side are those who argue that any system that rewards people solely on the basis of race is unconstitutional. Who's right? And how will the Supreme Court's decision affect the future of affirmation action?

TAKING IT TO THE LIMIT: Takings and the Supreme Court

with Erwin Chemerinsky, Douglas W. Kmiec, Joseph Saxvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 22, 2002

Should property owners be compensated for the effects of government regulation? According to the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution "No person shall … be deprived of … property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." But what exactly is a property right and what constitutes a taking? Seizure of land by the government may be a taking, but what about environmental or zoning regulations that place restrictions on land use? With one such taking case already before the Supreme Court, the legal battle over these questions could alter the very nature of the relationship between the rights of the individual property owner and those of society as a whole.

TOUGH CHOICES: Vouchers and the Supreme Court

with Erwin Chemerinsky, Douglas W. Kmiecvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 22, 2002

In the summer of 2002, the Supreme Court will announce its decision on a Cleveland school voucher case that many are calling the most important case on educational opportunities since Brown v. the Board of Education in 1954. In the Cleveland vouchers program, 96 percent of the participating children use government-funded tuition vouchers to attend religious schools. Is such an arrangement constitutional, or does it violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which has served as the constitutional basis for the separation of church and state? Just how should the Supreme Court rule, and what effect will its ruling have on the future of vouchers in the United States?

We Hold These Truths

by Douglas W. Kmiecvia Policy Review
Monday, September 1, 1997

Doug Kmiec toasts the Supreme Court’s return to federalism