Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, a staunch defender of the separation of church and state during his 24 years on the court, died March 4. He was 90.

Justice Blackmun, who served from 1970 until 1994 and was replaced on the court by Justice Stephen G. Breyer, wrote relatively few education-related opinions. But a notable exception was his majority opinion in a 1982 case, Washington v. Seattle School District No. 1, that struck down a Washington state ballot initiative that barred mandatory busing for desegregation.

In a concurrence to the court's 1992 ruling in Lee v. Weisman that prohibited clergy-led prayers at school graduations, Justice Blackmun wrote, "The mixing of government and religion is a threat to free government, even if no one is forced to participate."


Vol. 18, Issue 26, Page 4

Published in Print: March 10, 1999, as Milestones
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories