Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School Dist., 509 U.S. 1, 14 (1993)

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Blackmun, J., dissenting

we hold that the Establishment Clause does not prevent the school district from furnishing him with a sign-language interpreter there in order to facilitate his education. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is therefore


Justice Blackmun, with whom Justice Souter joins, and with whom Justice Stevens and Justice O'Connor join as to Part I, dissenting.

Today, the Court unnecessarily addresses an important constitutional issue, disregarding longstanding principles of constitutional adjudication. In so doing, the Court holds that placement in a parochial school classroom of a public employee whose duty consists of relaying religious messages does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. I disagree both with the Court's decision to reach this question and with its disposition on the merits. I therefore dissent.


"If there is one doctrine more deeply rooted than any other in the process of constitutional adjudication, it is that we ought not to pass on questions of constitutionality . . . unless such adjudication is unavoidable." Spector Motor Service, Inc. v. McLaughlin, 323 U. S. 101, 105 (1944). See Brockett v. Spokane Arcades, Inc., 472 U. S. 491, 501 (1985); Ashwander v. TVA, 297 U. S. 288, 347 (1936) (Brandeis, J., concurring); Liverpool, New York & Philadelphia S. S. Co. v. Commissioners of Emigration, 113 U. S. 33, 39 (1885). This is a "fundamental rule of judicial restraint," Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold Reservation v. Wold Engineering, P. C., 467 U. S. 138, 157 (1984), which has received the sanction of time and experience. It has been described as a "corollary" to the Article III case or controversy requirement, see Rescue Army v. Municipal Court of Los Angeles, 331 U. S. 549, 570 (1947), and is grounded in basic

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