Statutes: Blue Sunday

One area of church-state relations virtually avoided by the Chicago conferees was the field of blue laws. And no wonder: it is one of the prickliest brier patches in U.S. law.

Blue laws* are relics of a time when church and state seemed inextricably intertwined. They survive through the same sort of legislative inertia that preserves the numerous city ordinances against kite flying—a pastime once feared as a sure horse-frightener.

Today every state of the Union except Alaska has some sort of never-on-Sunday law on the books. They range from prohibitions directed at...

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