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Original Intent
David Barton

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  What do they fear?

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   Below is the summary of the Maryland Supreme Court Case decided shortly after the writing of the Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. This judge had a timely understanding of the words "Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment or religion." A summary is below but if you want to see the entire court decision click here.

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Note: There is no question 11.

276                          Runkel vs. Winemiller et al.        4 H. & McHenry

GENERAL COURT, OCTOBER TERM,

1799.

Runkel vs. Winemiller et al.

   The writ of mandamus is a prerogative writ, grantable where the public justice of the State is concerned, and commands the execution of an act when otherwise justice would be obstructed: it is the true, specific remedy to restore a person wrongfully dispossessed of an office or function which draws after it temporal rights.

  The jurisdiction of the General Court in cases of mandamus is similar to that of the Court of King's Bench.

   The Christian religion is the established religion by our form of government and all denominations are placed on an equal footing and equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty.

   Every endowed minister, of any denomination, who has been wrongfully dispossessed of his pulpit, is entitled to the writ of mandamus to be restored to his function and to the temporal rights with which it is endowed.

   Who is an endowed minister.

   Prima facie evidence is sufficient to induce the Court to grant a mandamus, and the merits of the case will not be tried upon affidavits.

   The prima facie evidence in this case was held sufficient to entitle the prosecutor to a writ of mandamus to be restored to his office of minister of the Dutch Reformed Church of which he had been dispossessed.

   The return to an alternative mandamus stated that the minister had been removed by a majority of the church, who had the right to do so, but did not state that notice had been given of the meeting which removed him, nor that the congregation met, but only that a majority thereof met and did not give the names of such majority. Held, that the return was insufficient and a peremptory writ of mandamus was granted. (d) And since the Act of Toleration, to admit an endowed Protestant dissenter. Thus much being premised, a foundation is laid for the opinion of the Court in this case.

(a) Approved in Harwood vs. Marshall, 9 Md. 97; State vs. Graves, 19 Md. 374; Dendall vs. U.S. 12 Peters, 620. (b) The present County Courts have the same jurisdiction and powers. Harwood vs. Marshall, 9 Md. 98. Material changes have been made in the proceedings in cases of mandamus, by Code, Art. 59. Weber vs. Zimmerman, 23 Md. 45. Mandamus cannot issue without notice from the Court to the opposite party. Brosius vs. Reuter, 1 H. & J. 480. (c) See Motter vs. Primrose, 23 Md. 501; School Com. vs. State Board, 26 Md. 507.

Question 12:  In Runkel vs. Winemiller (1799) Justice Samuel Chase said "By our form of government the Christian religion is the established religion, and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed on the same equal footing."

    True.             False