Friday, July 1, 2022

Freedom Convoy Ottawa protesters call for calm, as Trudeau government re-jails Tamara Lich

Freedom Convoy leader Tamara Lich arrested in Alberta, accused of breaching bail conditions | CBC News - Meghan Grant:

Jun 27, 2022 - "Freedom Convoy leader Tamara Lich has been rearrested in Medicine Hat, Alta., for allegedly breaching her bail conditions, her lawyers have confirmed. Lich was taken into custody Monday evening, according to Keith Wilson, who represents Lich on her non-criminal cases including a lawsuit.... Lich is charged with one count of failing to comply with her release order in a warrant issued by Ontario authorities, which means she is alleged to have breached her condition in that province. She must appear in court in Ontario within six days. Police say Lich will be taken to Ottawa and is due to appear in court in that city this week. 

"Eric Granger, who is one of Lich's criminal defence lawyers also confirmed Lich's arrest. Granger says he has no reason to believe his client has done anything wrong and is 'looking to learn more at this stage.'"
Read more: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/freedom-convoy-tamara-lich-arrested-1.6503718

Freedom Convoy leader Tamara Lich to remain in custody over Canada Day weekend | CBC News - Dan Taekema:

June 30, 2022 - "Freedom Convoy leader Tamara Lich will remain in custody over the Canada Day weekend after she was arrested this week for allegedly breaching her bail conditions. Lich was taken into custody in Medicine Hat, Alta., on Monday after Ottawa police issued a Canada-wide warrant for her arrest. She was brought back to the nation's capital and made a brief court appearance Thursday. Crown prosecutor Moiz Karimjee requested a full day for a bail hearing, which is scheduled to take place on July 5.

"Lich remains in custody as several groups — most of which formed out of the Freedom Convoy — are planning protests in Ottawa starting on July 1 and continuing throughout the summer."
Read more: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/freedom-convoy-tamara-lich-in-custody-canada-day-1.6507057

Canada Day update: "Freedom" protest party moves to Strathcona Park, organizers call for calm | Ottawa Citizen - Jacquie Miller:

June 29, 2022 - "'Freedom' groups protesting pandemic public-health measures are moving their Canada Day party to Strathcona Park in Sandy Hill. Their plans to hold a 'freedoming' picnic on the lawn of the Supreme Court of Canada near the Parliament buildings were thwarted after a fence about eight feet tall and concrete barriers were installed in front of the court on Wellington Street. 'Freedom' advocates say plans for a July 1 march downtown and a dance party on Parliament Hill are going ahead as planned....

"Two key people in the 'freedom' movement are urging demonstrators to be peaceful as anger mounts over this week’s arrest in Alberta of 'freedom convoy' leader Tamara Lich for allegedly breaching bail conditions....

"'Obviously everybody is in an uproar (about Lich) and rightfully so,' said Jerome O’Sullivan, a key person in the Freedom Fighters Canada group, in a video on social media.... 'They are trying to piss us off, trying to provoke us right now so we get violent so they can arrest us. They are trying to shut down this movement. We haven’t given them a reason, we have the right to peacefully assemble and express ourselves and we will continue to do so. But we are going to do it legally and lawfully.'

"Another key figure in the 'freedom' movement has urged people to join the protest march by James Topp in Ottawa on June 30 and the Canada Day events partly to show support for Lich and fellow convoy leader Patrick King, who is in jail awaiting trial. 'We cannot allow them to be locked up and chased down by a tyrannical government,' said a video posted on social media by Dave of Live from the Shed, a multimedia company that promotes and livestreams 'freedom' events. Dave also urged everyone to be peaceful. 'We are not going to become like the government which is attacking us. They want to stir up violence. They want you to riot, but we’re not going to do that, Canada. We are going to maintain our integrity. And we’re going to keep holding the line, just as we did in Ottawa (at the convoy protest).'"
Read more: https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/canada-day-update-freedom-protesters-move-party-from-supreme-court-lawn-after-fence-erected-there

Thursday, June 30, 2022

SF Covid data shows no effect of mask mandate

Do mask mandates work? Bay Area COVID data from June says no | SFGATE - Eric Ting:

June 29, 2022 - "In early June, during an uptick in COVID-19 cases, Alameda County was the only [San Francisco] Bay Area county to bring back an indoor mask mandate. At the time, county Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss said, 'Putting our masks back on gives us the best opportunity to limit the impact of a prolonged wave on our communities.' But regional case data provides no discernible evidence that the rule, which was lifted June 25, succeeded at that goal.

"The graphs below compare Alameda County’s seven-day average case rate from the past two months to rates in neighboring Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties. Contra Costa and Santa Clara, in particular, are natural comparisons to Alameda, because they have similar vaccination rates and demographic data. San Francisco, on the other side of the bay, provides an additional point of reference. All data comes from the California Department of Public Health.

"The case rate curves for Alameda and Contra Costa counties are near-identical. Because the neighboring counties are similar in so many respects, if masking policy had an impact on pandemic outcomes, one would expect to see some sort of discrepancy in the graph.

"San Francisco and Santa Clara had higher case rates than Alameda County throughout the current surge, including pre-mask mandate. Once the mandate was introduced, the three counties all followed the same trend line, casting doubt on whether the mask mandate did anything to curb transmission at the community level.


"SFGATE sent Moss these graphs via email and asked whether he can point to any evidence that his county’s mandate had an impact on reducing caseloads. 'We believe the recent mask order contributed to the improvements we are now observing with COVID-19 in Alameda County,' Moss said in a statement. 'Published evidence shows that high levels of community masking lowers transmission rates and survey data displayed an increase in masking during the recent Order timeframe,' he added. 'In fact, Alameda County observed higher masking rates than anywhere else in the Country at the time.' The Alameda County Health Department did not respond to follow-up questions on ... how, if that statement were true, the graphs wouldn't cut against the claim that 'high levels of community masking lowers transmission rates'....

"After viewing the case rate graphs, UCSF’s Dr. Bob Wachter — one of the region’s more cautious COVID-19 experts and a supporter of mask mandates — echoed many of that article’s sentiments, stating that mandates don’t appear to increase the 'probability of people wearing good masks correctly.... If the mandate came with enforcement of wearing a good (N95 or equivalent) mask correctly, it might demonstrate a significant advantage in preventing cases,' he wrote to SFGATE in an email. 'But there is no real enforcement (certainly not of correct masking using a good mask), which means that the rates of effective masking probably isn’t very different in [the Bay Area counties being compared].'

"If, in order to have an impactful mask mandate, enforcement teams must ensure that people are correctly wearing N95s indoors, it seems like a policy doomed to fail whenever implemented. It also raises questions of whether the costs of such enforcement would exceed the benefits.... Over the past two months, hospitalizations across the Bay Area have come nowhere close to the winter omicron numbers, which may not have accurately reflected the actual impact of the disease on hospitals. Alameda County's hospitalization-per-capita numbers are comparable to Contra Costa's and Santa Clara's....

"Wachter’s UCSF colleague Dr. Jeanne Noble, too, is a proponent of high-risk individuals protecting themselves through careful mask usage. Mandates, she told SFGATE in April, drive people to wear low-quality masks, which are 'not likely to make any measurable difference in viral transmission so it doesn’t matter whether you or others are wearing one.... Mask mandates may create a false sense of reassurance to those who truly need the extra protection,' Noble said in April. “The severely immunocompromised person ... should not opt for a cloth or surgical mask because other people around them are masked and therefore assume it is 'safe enough' to avoid the tight fitting and uncomfortable N95.'"

Read more: https://www.sfgate.com/coronavirus/article/bay-area-mask-mandate-results-17271294.php 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Calgary court rounds up shoppers for jury duty

During jury selection, a Calgary, Alberta court ran low on potential jurors -- so court officials went to a nearby mall and rounded up 50 shoppers to add to the jury pool. (Yes, that's legal in Canada.) 

50 Calgarians summoned from mall for immediate jury selection | CBC News - Jade Markus:

June 18, 2022 - "Dozens of Calgarians were summoned for jury selection — immediately — during lunch hour at a downtown Calgary mall this week, invoking a rare procedure imported from England. Alberta officers issued 50 summonses to people who were at the Core Shopping Centre on Thursday, documents which required the recipient to at once go to the Calgary Courts Centre, a few blocks away. 

"The unusual course of action was enacted after the court realized the jury pool wasn't big enough for an upcoming trial, as too many jurors were exempted due to several factors, said Donna Spaner, a prosecutor in jury selection who was at the court on Thursday. Among those factors were summer vacation and the subject matter of the trial, according to Spaner. That resulted in a Queen's Bench justice issuing the summons in order to fill that gap, she said. 

"'The court clerks and the sheriff went over to the mall, and just started handing members of the downtown lunch crowd these summons that required them to attend the courthouse,' Spaner said. 'I can tell you with certainty a number of people whose Thursday afternoon was inconvenienced were not particularly thrilled'.... 

Barbaric Genie, Core Shopping Centre, Calgary, Alberta, 2014. CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons.

"Balfour Der, criminal law defence attorney and criminal law textbook author, said the procedure that was invoked on Thursday is called Talesman, and it was imported to Canada from England.... 'They are just picked off the streets and brought in to be part of the potential pool of prospective jurors who could be picked for a particular jury.' 

"But those searching for a soft pretzel or a new pair of shoes shouldn't be afraid of going to the mall — Der says it's rare that a potential jury supply is completely depleted for an upcoming trial. 'It is very rarely used. It's very rare that you ever exhaust a panel of prospective jurors, but it can happen'.... A spokesperson for Alberta Justice Minister Tyler Shandro said the last time the procedure was enacted was 1996 in Calgary and December 2020 in Edmonton....

"In this case, 80 potential jurors came to court for jury duty and there weren't enough people to select two juries. The first jury was selected but the second was short six jurors, so additional people were needed.... The spokesperson said if the people who were brought in on Thursday are selected to serve as a juror they would be required to return to court for the trial.

"'Trial by jury is a cornerstone of our criminal justice system. Implicit in the right to a jury trial is that the jury will be chosen randomly, and will be impartial and representative of the larger community. Jury management works hard to avoid the need to rely on the Talesman procedure,' the spokesperson said. 'Unfortunately, and as mentioned above, the number of potential jurors exempted in the days leading up to and on the day of jury selection ultimately resulted in its use.'"

Read more: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/summons-immediate-calgary-jury-selection-1.6493797

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

ZeroCovid group declares monkeypox a pandemic

World Health Network declares Monkeypox a pandemic | Mint

June 24. 2022 - "With 3,417 confirmed Monkeypox cases reported across 58 countries, World Health Network (WHN) has announced that they are declaring the current monkeypox outbreak a pandemic. The WHN announcement comes ahead of WHO [World Health Organiztion] meeting to be held on 23 June to decide on their monkeypox outbreak designation....




"The outbreak will not stop without concerted global action, [WHN] said. Even with death rates much lower than smallpox, unless actions are taken to stop the ongoing spread ... millions of people will die and many more will become blind and disabled, it said... WHN said that the essential purpose of declaring Monkeypox a pandemic is to achieve a concerted effort across multiple countries or over the world to prevent widespread harm.

"'There is no justification to wait for the monkeypox pandemic to grow further. The best time to act is now. By taking immediate action, we can control the outbreak with the least effort, and prevent consequences from becoming worse.... Any delay only makes the effort harder and the consequences more severe', said Yaneer Bar-Yam,* PhD, President of New England Complex System Institute and co-founder of WHN.

"'The WHO needs to urgently declare its own Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) — the lessons of not declaring a PHEIC immediately in early January 2020 should be remembered as a history lesson of what acting late on an epidemic can mean for the world,' said Eric Feigl-Ding,* PhD, Epidemiologist and Health Economist, and co-founder of WHN."
Read more: https://www.livemint.com/news/world/world-health-network-declares-monkeypox-a-pandemic-11655951549860.html

WHO: Monkeypox outbreak not yet a global public health emergency | Stat - Andrew Joseph:

June 25, 2022 - "The World Health Organization on Saturday declined to declare the unprecedented monkeypox outbreak that has spread around the world a public health emergency as of now. A public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC, grants the WHO director-general certain powers, such as the ability to recommend how countries should respond.... The announcement came after a WHO emergency committee met Thursday to discuss the outbreak. Some 3,000 cases have been documented since mid-May, ... outside the regions in West and Central Africa where the virus is endemic and has animal reservoirs. Most of the cases have been in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, with many occurring in men who have had multiple recent sex partners. One death has been reported, in an immunocompromised person....

"Gregg Gonsalves,* an associate professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, disagreed with WHO’s decision, which he called a 'punt.' He said he felt that the criteria had been met and that a PHEIC declaration could have pushed public health authorities to step up their response and coordinate better across countries. Gonsalves served as an adviser to the emergency committee, but did not have a say in whether to recommend a PHEIC be declared.

"Monkeypox infections can lead to painful lesions and rashes, including vesicles forming on the palms.... Many of the cases in the current outbreak have been comparatively mild, though some patients have been hospitalized for pain management as the infection runs its course.... In the current outbreak, ... the United States has reported 200 monkeypox cases, Germany has identified more than 675 cases, Portugal more than 300, and the United Kingdom more than 900. South Africa on Thursday also reported a case in a person who had no recent travel history....

"The PHEIC designation was created in an update to the International Health Regulations following the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak....The first PHEIC was declared for the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, and others have included Ebola outbreaks and the Zika epidemic. The two active PHEICs are for Covid-19 and the continued transmission of polio."
Read more: https://www.statnews.com/2022/06/25/who-monkeypox-outbreak-not-yet-a-global-health-emergency/ 

* signatory of the John Snow Memorandum 

Monday, June 27, 2022

Lockdown in Shenzhen, China, for 11 Covid cases

Coronavirus: Chinese factory hub Shenzhen shuts down Hong Kong border district for 3 days | South China Morning Post - Amanda Lee:

June 26, 2022 - "China’s southern manufacturing powerhouse of Shenzhen has closed wholesale markets, cinemas and gyms in a central district bordering Hong Kong for three days as it steps up to prevent a wider spread of Covid-19. The Shenzhen municipal health commission said all bars and parks would be shut in Futian district, and public events suspended, after nearly a dozen local cases were found over Friday and Saturday. Shenzhen reported seven local cases, five of which were symptomatic, on Friday and four local asymptomatic cases on Saturday. All of the cases were found in Futian district, except for one case in Luohu district on Saturday.

"Some bus and subway services have also been suspended in the district, home to around 1.55 million people and one of the world’s largest electronics markets. Restaurants are limited to 50 per cent of capacity. The measures will last at least three days, and then be 'adjusted' according to the disease situation, the commission said.

"Daily Covid-19 nucleic acid test results have now become necessary for using public transport or entering public venues in Futian, after the testing window for negative reports was shortened from 48 hours to 24.

Charlie Fong, Panorama of Futian district, Shenzhen, 2021. CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons.

"The latest restrictions in Shenzhen, a city of 17.5 million that saw a sudden weeklong lockdown in March, underscore the challenges of trying to stamp out the highly transmissible Omicron variant as China sticks to a 'dynamic zero-Covid' policy. Two of China’s largest cities, the capital Beijing and the financial and business hub of Shanghai, have been battling a resurgence of Covid-19 since late March, with Shanghai emerging from a two-month citywide lockdown only on June 1.... Strict containment measures are part of China’s continued adherence to its zero-Covid policy, which aims to eliminate all outbreaks. However, while the curbs may have reduced the spread of infections, they have also fuelled frustrations among both local and international businesses and taken a heavy toll on the economy.

"A Futian resident who did not want to be named said his community had been designated as a 'controlled' area for a week from June 18, after one case was detected. 'Compared with the seven-day lockdown in March, I think the snap lockdown is better and more flexible,' ... the resident said. However, locals were concerned when they were told not to leave their homes during that period. Under the Guangdong provincial government’s definition of a 'controlled' area, the second in a three-tier Covid-zoning system, residents can leave their homes and move around within the community....

"Brian Miller, chief executive of Easy China Warehouse in Shenzhen’s Baoan district, said measures such as mandating negative coronavirus test results in getting around many parts of the city had been effective in preventing extensive lockdowns.... However, Miller also noted that the strict curbs had placed a financial burden on business owners and put off people from travelling in and out of China....

"'I haven’t left [China] for three years,' Miller added. 'One of the reasons why I haven’t left is not only because of the border [restrictions]. I’m just worried that there might be some policy that might not allow me to come back in, as a foreign national.'"

Read more: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/3183122/coronavirus-chinese-factory-hub-shenzhen-shuts-down-hong-kong

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Hidden costs of decarbonizing energy

The Hard Math of Minerals | Issues in Science and Technology - Mark P. Mills: 

January 27, 2022 - "Today’s plans to decarbonize global energy systems center on a massive expansion in the use of solar, wind, and battery technologies, with the goal of these becoming the dominant means to power society. But scaling up these energy sources entails a radically heavier materials footprint than is associated with fossil fuels.... The unavoidable scale of materials demand will have significant impacts on commodities markets and prices, as well as on the environment. Most policy formulations fail to account for these implications. The country is long overdue for thoughtful and realistic planning that honestly acknowledges the tradeoffs and consequences arising from the materials needed to accelerate what is being called the energy transition.

"It has long been known that building solar and wind systems requires roughly a tenfold increase in the total tonnage of common materials — concrete, steel, glass, etc. — to deliver the same quantity of energy compared to building a natural gas or other hydrocarbon-fueled power plant. Beyond that, supplying the same quantity of energy as conventional sources with solar and wind equipment, along with other aspects of the energy transition such as using electric vehicles (EVs), entails an enormous increase in the use of specialty minerals and metals like copper, nickel, chromium, zinc, cobalt: in many instances, it’s far more than a tenfold increase.... Installing so much wind and solar generation capacity worldwide has profound materials implications, not to mention land requirements.... Replacing the energy output from a single 100 megawatt (MW) natural gas-fired turbine (producing enough electricity for 75,000 homes) requires at least 20 wind turbines, each about 500 feet tall and collectively requiring some 30,000 tons of iron ore and 50,000 tons of concrete, ... requir[ing] 10 square miles of land. And although a solar installation would require one-third as much land as wind, the aggregate tonnage of cement, steel, and glass used is about 150% greater than wind.

"Scaling up solar, wind, and batteries also means scaling up the mining of the refined minerals they require. There is a significant environmental impact associated with the sheer tonnage of earth that must be moved and processed to produce these refined minerals. To produce one ton of a purified element, a far greater quantity of ore must be extracted and processed. Copper ores, for example, typically contain only about 0.5% by weight of the element itself: roughly 200 tons of ore are dug up, moved, crushed, and refined to produce 1 ton of copper.... Cobalt (used in most batteries) occurs at a grade typically lower than 1 ton of the element per 1,500 tons of ore.... The IEA [International Energy Agency] ... estimates that an energy plan more ambitious than implied by the 2015 Paris Agreement, but one that remains far short of eliminating the use of fossil fuels, would increase demand for minerals such as lithium, graphite, nickel, and cobalt rare earths by 4,200%, 2,500%, 1,900% and 700%, respectively, by 2040.... The IEA report is not alone in pointing out that the required mining and processing infrastructure capacities don’t yet exist to meet the demand for essentially every category of mineral necessary for the transition path. 

"In a recent report from the Geological Survey of Finland, researchers considered the minerals implications for ... using solar and wind to electrify all ground transport as well as to produce hydrogen for both aviation and chemical processes. They found the resulting demand for nearly every necessary mineral, including common ones such as copper, nickel, graphite, and lithium, would exceed not just existing and planned global production capabilities, but also known global reserves of those minerals. A recent analysis by the Wood Mackenzie consultancy found that if EVs are to account for two-thirds of all new car purchases by 2030, dozens of new mines must be opened just to meet automotive demands — each mine the size of the world’s biggest in each category today. But 2030 is only eight years away and, as the IEA has reported, opening a new mine takes 16 years on average....

"Another area of concern for these new technologies is their future cost.... Today, future plans for solar, wind, and battery technologies assume costs will continue to fall significantly, as they have over the last decade. But the implications of record-breaking demands for mineral commodities suggest the reverse is more likely. Consider batteries.... Numerous estimates ... suggest that commodity materials comprise 60 to 70% of the cost to produce a battery. Thus, modest increases in commodity prices can wipe out gains in the smaller share of costs associated with assembly, electronics, and labor, leading to overall higher costs.... In fact, 2021 saw high material costs lead to overall lithium battery prices declining by only 6%. That was a dramatic slowdown from the decadal trend, and less than half the decline rate in each of the prior two years. Although EVs comprise only 5% of the market for automobiles, the price index of EV battery metals has already increased by more than 200% over the past two years....

"There is, in short, no escaping the fact that the astonishing scale of global materials production needed for proposed energy transition plans will almost certainly place severe limits on aspirations for expanding the use of wind, solar, and battery systems. But even before those limits are reached, the pursuit of a materials-heavy energy infrastructure will cause economic impacts that ripple beyond energy markets, inflating the cost of nonenergy uses for the same minerals in computers, conventional manufacturing equipment, everyday consumer appliances, and more. Beyond economics, there are also the practical and geopolitical challenges arising from realignments of energy material supply chains..... Finally, there are the social and moral implications associated with a radical shift in the types and locations of environmental impacts that comes from replacing drilling (for fossil fuels) with a massive expansion in mining, much of which will occur in emerging markets and fragile ecosystems....

"Based on today’s physics and technology, the only path to an energy system with a material intensity lower than hydrocarbons would be one focused on nuclear fission.... Nuclear fission offers a potential hundredfold reduction in material intensity over combustion, and a thousandfold reduction over solar and wind. Here too, though, even if policies are implemented that are conducive to a nuclear renaissance, meaningful expansion will take decades longer than the rapid transition timelines popular today.

"The material realities associated with solar, wind, and storage technologies do not obviate an expanded, or even a substantial, role for these energy systems. However, believing that such technologies make possible a rapid and wholesale replacement of fossil fuels ignores the underlying physics, engineering, and economics. Even more troublesome, putting so much effort and money into those technologies will lead the world down a path that won’t meet targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but would cause massive collateral damage to economies and the environment."

Read more: https://issues.org/environmental-economic-costs-minerals-solar-wind-batteries-mills/

Saturday, June 25, 2022

SCOTUS gets school funding decision right

Overlooked in the controversy over their overturning of Roe v. Wade was another SCOTUS decision that will also have a great impact on children in the future.

The Death of Separationism and the Life of School Choice | Law & Liberty - John O. McGinnis:

June 23, 2022 - "In a Supreme Court term of many consequential decisions, Carson v. Makin stands out for its likely enduring legal and political effects. In Carson, which was handed down on Tuesday, the Court held that Maine could not prevent parents from using its tuition assistance for rural residents at sectarian religious schools. As Chief Justice Roberts said, a 'State need not subsidize private education. But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.'

"The case is the culmination of a series of rulings in which the Roberts Court has held unconstitutional any condition that withholds generally available state aid from religious institutions. Previous cases had prevented aid from being withheld on the basis of the religious identity of the institution. This case extends that principle to prevent it from being withheld on the basis of the religious use to which the institution puts the tuition assistance — in this case to a school that includes religiously based instruction. The Free Exercise Clause requires neutrality between religious and nonreligious institutions and uses to which citizens can put their government-provided assistance.

"The doctrine of unconstitutional conditions is familiar across the breadth of constitutional law. A state, for instance, could not prevent citizens from using generally available tuition assistance for private schools on the basis of what a teacher said about the American Revolution, because that would be an unconstitutional condition on free speech. Carson makes clear that the doctrine of unconstitutional conditions is as applicable to Free Exercise as to other constitutional rights.  

"The broader significance of Carson v. Makin is that the Court has made it clear that the Free Exercise Clause will be treated like other rights and will not be limited by the nonoriginalist principle of Separation of Church and State.  The case ... spends little time quoting sources from the founding on the meaning of either the Free Exercise or Establishment Clause. It is nevertheless informed by the movement toward originalism, because what has historically distinguished the treatment of the Free Exercise Clause from other rights is a nonoriginalist view of the Establishment Clause, namely that it incorporates a broad and wooly principle of Separation of Church and State. And that view was itself sometimes supported by a faulty originalism, relying on a few snippets from founding era materials, like Thomas Jefferson’s 'wall of separation' comment in his reply to a letter from the Baptist Church in Danbury, Connecticut.  

"If the Constitution had indeed established a principle of complete separation, it is plausible that a state would have a compelling or at least substantial interest in preventing parents from using generally available aid at a religious school. Separationism would suggest that religious institutions and the state must have no connection. Separationism also animates the notion there must at least be some 'play in the joints' between the two Clauses, meaning that a state’s concern about the Establishment Clause could justify restrictions on the scope of Free Exercise rights.... But the Carson majority notably does not deploy the phrase, 'play in the joints.' The dissents by Justice Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor rely on that phrase a total of nine times between them. The dissents also expressly relied on separationism, while the majority dismissed any separationist concern. Thus, the meaning of the Establishment Clause is what ultimately divides the Court....

"Scholarship debunking the separation of church and state as the original principle lurking behind the Establishment Clause has been crucial to recent developments in the religion clauses, because it provides the background for Carson’s doctrinal moves. In particular, Philip Hamburger’s magisterial Separation of Church and State shows that there was very little opinion at the time of Framing that attached anything like this principle to the Establishment Clause. The use of the term by Thomas Jefferson (not of course a Framer) was extremely unusual. Instead, according to Hamburger, what animated the Establishment Clause was the concern of religious dissenters that they not suffer discrimination and that the state, as Hamburger puts it, not take 'cognizance' of religion by creating religious tests and putting other religiously infused requirements into law. Measured against this understanding of the meaning of 'establishment' and its dangers, Carson’s insistence that religious schools not be discriminated against in generally available programs is completely consistent with the Establishment Clause’s strictures. A program that is non-preferential between secular and any religious education hardly establishes a religion.... 

"Carson is not only important for what it does for Establishment Clause jurisprudence but what it does for the school choice movement. That movement already has political momentum. First, many public schools have been heavily criticized for closing for too long during the pandemic with substantial losses of learning, particularly for the poorest students. Second, many parents are furious with what their public schools are teaching, viewing commonly used history curricula in particular as tendentious and unpatriotic. Many also worry about an emphasis on equity over excellence. As a result, a parental rights movement is emerging as a powerful electoral force.

"School choice is the logical institutional manifestation of parental rights. A parent who can choose the school his or her child attends has more influence on the child’s education. At a traditional public school, a parent can only vote in a school board election, and once the school board is elected, he or she retains no substantial leverage at all. School choice provides the invaluable right of exit. Carson assures those who want to send their children to religious schools that religious choices can never be excluded from a choice program. Thus, it energizes parents who want a religious alternative to the traditional public school to join with parents who want alternatives for secular reasons. The ruling thus contributes even more energy to one of our most important contemporary social movements."

Read more: https://lawliberty.org/the-death-of-separationism-and-the-life-of-school-choice/