Constitutional Law: God & Courts in Maryland

Although they guaranteed to maintain religious tolerance in Maryland, the state's Roman Catholic founders also guaranteed death for anyone "who shall deny the Holy Trinity." Vestiges of that 1649 paradox have hung on ever since, involving Maryland in more church-state lawsuits than any other state in the Union. Nothing, though, quite beats the current snarl that Attorney General Thomas B. Finan calls "the gravest crisis in the administration of criminal law in my experience."

Most of the trouble can be traced to the fact that the U.S. Constitution forbids religious test oaths for any public official. Maryland's constitution does the...

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