July 7, 2012
Judge orders drunk driver to read Bible’s tale of Job
Really interesting constitutional questions raised by a woman who pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated being sentenced to eight years in jail, five years probation and substance abuse counseling. It’s none of those conditions that raise the constitutional concern. It’s this:
The South Carolina judge also ordered Cassandra Tolley to read the Old Testament book of Job and write a little book report on it.
From the Herald Online:
But I’m not certain that is enough to overcome the constitutional concerns.
Regardless of whether Tolley consents to the judge’s sentence, the sentence still represents state action and thus implicates the First Amendment. And the sentence might run afoul of the First Amendment by being a government endorsement of religion (generally, though probably not specifically because Job is a shared book) and by entangling government in a religious function—after all, the judge will need to read and evaluate Tolley’s summary of the book, right?
(Hat tip: Religion Clause)