The petitioner, Elliott Ashton Welsh II, was convicted by a United States District Judge of refusing to submit to induction into the Armed Forces in violation of 50 U. S. C. App. § 462 (a), and was on June 1, 1966, sentenced to imprisonment for three years. One of petitioner's defenses to the prosecution was that § 6 (j) of the Universal Military Training and Service Act exempted him from combat and noncombat service because he was "by reason of religious training and belief . . . conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form."
The controlling facts in this case are strikingly similar to those in Seeger. Both Seeger and Welsh were brought up in religious homes and attended church in their childhood, but in neither case was this church one which taught its members not to engage in war at any time for
In filling out their exemption applications both Seeger and Welsh were unable to sign the statement that, as printed in the Selective Service form, stated "I am, by reason of my religious training and belief, conscientiously
In Seeger the Court was confronted, first, with the problem that § 6 (j) defined "religious training and belief" in terms of a "belief in a relation to a Supreme Being . . . ," a definition that arguably gave a preference to those who believed in a conventional God as opposed to those who did not. Noting the "vast panoply of beliefs" prevalent in our country, the Court construed the congressional intent as being in "keeping with its long-established policy of not picking and choosing among religious beliefs," id., at 175, and accordingly interpreted "the meaning of religious training and belief so as to embrace all religions . . . ." Id., at 165. (Emphasis added.) But, having decided that all religious conscientious objectors were entitled to the exemption, we faced the more serious problem of determining which beliefs were "religious" within the meaning of the statute. This question was particularly difficult in the case of Seeger himself. Seeger stated that his was a "belief in and devotion to goodness and virtue for their own sakes, and a religious faith in a purely ethical creed." 380 U. S., at 166. In a letter to his draft board, he wrote:
In resolving the question whether Seeger and the other registrants in that case qualified for the exemption, the Court stated that "[the] task is to decide whether the beliefs professed by a registrant are sincerely held and whether they are, in his own scheme of things, religious." 380 U. S., at 185. (Emphasis added.) The reference to the registrant's "own scheme of things" was intended to indicate that the central consideration in determining whether the registrant's beliefs are religious is whether these beliefs play the role of a religion and function as a religion in the registrant's life. The Court's principal statement of its test for determining whether a conscientious objector's beliefs are religious within the meaning of § 6 (j) was as follows:
The Court made it clear that these sincere and meaningful beliefs that prompt the registrant's objection to all wars need not be confined in either source or content to traditional or parochial concepts of religion. It held that § 6 (j) "does not distinguish between externally and internally derived beliefs," id., at 186, and also held that "intensely personal" convictions which some might find "incomprehensible" or "incorrect" come within the meaning of "religious belief" in the Act. Id., at 184-185. What is necessary under Seeger for a registrant's conscientious
Applying this standard to Seeger himself, the Court noted the "compulsion to `goodness' " that shaped his total opposition to war, the undisputed sincerity with which he held his views, and the fact that Seeger had "decried the tremendous `spiritual' price man must pay for his willingness to destroy human life." 380 U. S., at 186-187. The Court concluded:
Accordingly, the Court found that Seeger should be granted conscientious objector status.
In the case before us the Government seeks to distinguish our holding in Seeger on basically two grounds,
The Government also seeks to distinguish Seeger on the ground that Welsh's views, unlike Seeger's were "essentially political, sociological, or philosophical views or a merely personal moral code." As previously noted, the Government made the same argument about Seeger, and not without reason, for Seeger's views had a substantial political dimension. Supra, at 338-339. In this case, Welsh's conscientious objection to war was undeniably based in part on his perception of world politics. In a letter to his local board, he wrote:
We certainly do not think that § 6 (j)'s exclusion of those persons with "essentially political, sociological, or philosophical views or a merely personal moral code" should be read to exclude those who hold strong beliefs about our domestic and foreign affairs or even those whose conscientious objection to participation in all wars is founded to a substantial extent upon considerations of public policy. The two groups of registrants that obviously do fall within these exclusions from the exemption are those whose beliefs are not deeply held and those whose objection to war does not rest at all upon moral, ethical, or religious principle but instead rests solely upon
Welsh stated that he "believe[d] the taking of life— anyone's life—to be morally wrong." App. 44. In his original conscientious objector application he wrote the following:
Welsh elaborated his beliefs in later communications with Selective Service officials. On the basis of these beliefs and the conclusion of the Court of Appeals that he held them "with the strength of more traditional religious convictions," 404 F. 2d, at 1081, we think Welsh was clearly entitled to a conscientious objector exemption. Section
The judgment is Reversed.
MR. JUSTICE BLACKMUN took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
MR. JUSTICE HARLAN, concurring in the result.
Candor requires me to say that I joined the Court's opinion in United States v. Seeger, 380 U.S. 163 (1965), only with the gravest misgivings as to whether it was a legitimate exercise in statutory construction, and today's decision convinces me that in doing so I made a mistake which I should now acknowledge.
In Seeger the Court construed § 6 (j) of the Universal Military Training and Service Act so as to sustain a conscientious objector claim not founded on a theistic belief. The Court, in treating with the provision of the statute that limited conscientious objector claims to those stemming from belief in "a Supreme Being," there said: "Congress, in using the expression `Supreme Being' rather than the designation `God,' was merely clarifying the meaning of religious training and belief so as to embrace all religions and to exclude essentially political, sociological, or philosophical views," and held that the test of belief " `in a relation to a Supreme Being' is whether a given belief that is sincere and meaningful occupies a place in the life of its possessor parallel to that filled by the orthodox
In my opinion, the liberties taken with the statute both in Seeger and today's decision cannot be justified in the name of the familiar doctrine of construing federal statutes in a manner that will avoid possible constitutional infirmities in them. There are limits to the permissible application of that doctrine, and, as I will undertake to show in this opinion, those limits were crossed in Seeger, and even more apparently have been exceeded in the present case. I therefore find myself unable to escape facing the constitutional issue that this case squarely presents: whether § 6 (j) in limiting this draft exemption to those opposed to war in general because of theistic beliefs runs afoul of the religious clauses of the First Amendment. For reasons later appearing I believe it does, and on that basis I concur in the judgment reversing this conviction, and adopt the test announced by MR. JUSTICE BLACK, not as a matter of statutory construction, but as the touchstone for salvaging a congressional policy of long standing that would otherwise have to be nullified.
Section 6 (j) provided during the period relevant to this case:
The issue is then whether Welsh's opposition to war is founded on "religious training and belief" and hence "belief in a relation to a Supreme Being" as Congress used those words. It is of course true that certain words are more plastic in meaning than others. "Supreme Being" is a concept of theology and philosophy, not a technical term, and consequently may be, in some circumstances, capable of bearing a contemporary construction as notions of theology and philosophy evolve. Cf. United States v. Storrs, 272 U.S. 652 (1926). This language appears, however, in a congressional enactment; it is not a phrase of the Constitution, like "religion" or "speech," which this Court is freer to construe in light of evolving needs and circumstances. Cf. Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson, 343 U.S. 495 (1952), and my concurring opinion in Estes v. Texas, 381 U.S. 532, 595-596 (1965), and my opinion concurring in the judgment in Garner v. Louisiana, 368 U.S. 157, 185 (1961). Nor is it so broad a statutory directive, like that of the Sherman Act, that we may assume that we are free to adopt and shape policies limited only by the most general statement of purpose. Cf. e. g., Standard Oil Co. v. United States, 221 U.S. 1 (1911). It is Congress' will that must here be divined. In that endeavor
The natural reading of § 6 (j), which quite evidently draws a distinction between theistic and nontheistic religions, is the only one that is consistent with the legislative history. Section 5 (g) of the 1940 Draft Act exempted individuals whose opposition to war could be traced to "religious training and belief," 54 Stat. 889, without any allusion to a Supreme Being. In United States v. Kauten, 133 F.2d 703 (C. A. 2d Cir. 1943), the Second Circuit, speaking through Judge Augustus Hand, broadly construed "religious training and belief" to include a "belief finding expression in a conscience which categorically requires the believer to disregard elementary self-interest and to accept martyrdom in preference to transgressing its tenets." 133 F. 2d, at 708. The view was further elaborated in subsequent decisions of the Second Circuit, see United States ex rel. Phillips v. Downer, 135 F.2d 521 (C. A. 2d Cir. 1943); United States ex rel. Reel v. Badt, 141 F.2d 845 (C. A. 2d Cir. 1944). This expansive interpretation of § 5 (g) was rejected by a divided Ninth Circuit in Berman v. United States, 156 F.2d 377, 380-381 (1946):
In the wake of this intercircuit dialogue, crystallized by the dissent in Berman which espoused the Second Circuit interpretation in Kauten, supra, Congress enacted § 6 (j) in 1948. That Congress intended to anoint the Ninth Circuit's interpretation of § 5 (g) would seem beyond question in view of the similarity of the statutory language to that used by Chief Justice Hughes in his dissenting opinion in Macintosh and quoted in Berman and the Senate report. The first half of the new language was almost word for word that of Chief Justice Hughes in
Against this legislative history it is a remarkable feat of judicial surgery to remove, as did Seeger, the theistic requirement of § 6 (j). The prevailing opinion today, however, in the name of interpreting the will of Congress, has performed a lobotomy and completely transformed the statute by reading out of it any distinction between religiously acquired beliefs and those deriving from "essentially political, sociological, or philosophical views or a merely personal moral code."
In the realm of statutory construction it is appropriate to search for meaning in the congressional vocabulary in a lexicon most probably consulted by Congress. Resort to Webster's
Of the five pertinent definitions four include the notion of either a Supreme Being or a cohesive, organized group pursuing a common spiritual purpose together. While, as the Court's opinion in Seeger points out, these definitions do not exhaust the almost infinite and sophisticated possibilities for defining "religion," there is strong evidence that Congress restricted, in this instance, the word to its conventional sense. That it is difficult to plot the semantic penumbra of the word "religion" does not render this term so plastic in meaning that the Court is entitled, as matter of statutory construction, to conclude that any asserted and strongly held belief satisfies its requirements. It must be recognized that the permissible shadow of connotation is limited by the context in which words are used. In § 6 (j) Congress has included not only a reference to a Supreme Being but has also explicitly contrasted "religious" beliefs with those that are "essentially political, sociological, or philosophical" and a "personal moral code." This exception certainly is, at the very least, the statutory boundary, the "asymptote," of the word "religion."
When the plain thrust of a legislative enactment can only be circumvented by distortion to avert an inevitable constitutional collision, it is only by exalting form over substance that one can justify this veering off the path that has been plainly marked by the statute. Such a course betrays extreme skepticism as to constitutionality, and, in this instance, reflects a groping to preserve the conscientious objector exemption at all cost.
I cannot subscribe to a wholly emasculated construction of a statute to avoid facing a latent constitutional question, in purported fidelity to the salutary doctrine of avoiding unnecessary resolution of constitutional issues, a principle to which I fully adhere. See Ashwander v. Tennessee Valley Authority, 297 U.S. 288, 348 (1936) (Brandeis, J., concurring). It is, of course, desirable to salvage by construction legislative enactments whenever there is good reason to believe that Congress did not intend to legislate consequences that are unconstitutional, but it is not permissible, in my judgment, to take a lateral step that robs legislation of all meaning in order to avert the collision between its plainly intended purpose and the commands of the Constitution.
The issue comes sharply into focus in Mr. Justice Cardozo's statement for the Court in Moore Ice Cream Co. v. Rose, 289 U.S. 373, 379 (1933):
If an important congressional policy is to be perpetuated by recasting unconstitutional legislation, as the prevailing opinion has done here, the analytically sound approach is to accept responsibility for this decision. Its justification cannot be by resort to legislative intent, as that term is usually employed, but by a different kind of legislative intent, namely the presumed grant of power to the courts to decide whether it more nearly accords with
The constitutional question that must be faced in this case is whether a statute that defers to the individual's conscience only when his views emanate from adherence to theistic religious beliefs is within the power of Congress. Congress, of course, could, entirely consistently with the requirements of the Constitution, eliminate all exemptions for conscientious objectors. Such a course would be wholly "neutral" and, in my view, would not offend the Free Exercise Clause, for reasons set forth in my dissenting opinion in Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398, 418 (1963). See Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11, 29 (1905) (dictum); cf. McGowan v. Maryland, 366 U.S. 420 (1961); Davis v. Beason, 133 U.S. 333 (1890); Hamilton v. Board of Regents, 293 U.S. 245, 264-265 (1934); Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1879); Kurland, of Church and State and the Supreme Court, 29 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1 (1961). However, having chosen to exempt, it cannot draw the line between theistic or nontheistic religious beliefs on the one hand and secular beliefs on the other. Any such distinctions are not, in my view, compatible with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. See my separate opinion in Walz v. Tax Comm'n, 397 U.S. 664, 694 (1970); Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97 (1968); School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 305 (1963) (Goldberg, J., concurring);
The "radius" of this legislation is the conscientiousness with which an individual opposes war in general, yet the statute, as I think it must be construed, excludes from its "scope" individuals motivated by teachings of nontheistic religions,
If the exemption is to be given application, it must encompass the class of individuals it purports to exclude, those whose beliefs emanate from a purely moral, ethical, or philosophical source.
The Government enlists the Selective Draft Law Cases, 245 U.S. 366 (1918), as precedent for upholding the constitutionality of the religious conscientious objector provision. That case involved the power of Congress to raise armies by conscription and only incidentally the conscientious objector exemption. The language emphasized by the Government to the effect that the exemption for religious objectors and ministers constituted neither an establishment nor interference with free exercise of religion can only be considered an after-thought since the case did not involve any individuals who claimed to be nonreligious conscientious objectors.
Other authorities assembled by the Government, far from advancing its case, demonstrate the unconstitutionality of the distinction drawn in § 6 (j) between religious and nonreligious beliefs. Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947), the Sunday Closing Law Cases, 366 U.S. 420, 582, 599, and 617 (1961), and Board
Where a statute is defective because of underinclusion there exist two remedial alternatives: a court may either declare it a nullity and order that its benefits not extend to the class that the legislature intended to benefit, or it may extend the coverage of the statute to include those who are aggrieved by exclusion. Cf. Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535 (1942); Iowa-Des Moines National Bank v. Bennett, 284 U.S. 239 (1931).
Indicative of the breadth of the judicial mandate in this regard is the broad severability clause, 65 Stat. 88, which provides that "[i]f any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the validity of the remainder of the Act and of the application of such provision to other persons and circumstances shall not be affected thereby." While the absence of such a provision would not foreclose the exercise of discretion in determining whether a legislative policy should be repaired or abandoned, cf. United States v. Jackson, 390 U.S. 570, 585 n. 27 (1968), its existence "discloses an intention to make the Act divisible and creates a presumption that, eliminating invalid parts, the legislature would have been satisfied with what remained . . . ." Champlin Rfg. Co. v. Commission, 286 U.S. 210, 235 (1932). See also Skinner
In exercising the broad discretion conferred by a severability clause it is, of course, necessary to measure the intensity of commitment to the residual policy and consider the degree of potential disruption of the statutory scheme that would occur by extension as opposed to abrogation. Cf. Nat. Life Ins. Co. v. United States, supra (Brandeis, J., dissenting); Dorchy v. Kansas, 264 U.S. 286 (1924).
The policy of exempting religious conscientious objectors is one of longstanding tradition in this country and accords recognition to what is, in a diverse and "open" society, the important value of reconciling individuality
When a policy has roots so deeply embedded in history, there is a compelling reason for a court to hazard the necessary statutory repairs if they can be made within the administrative framework of the statute and without impairing other legislative goals, even though they entail, not simply eliminating an offending section, but rather building upon it.
MR. JUSTICE WHITE, with whom THE CHIEF JUSTICE and MR. JUSTICE STEWART join, dissenting.
Whether or not United States v. Seeger, 380 U.S. 163 (1965), accurately reflected the intent of Congress in providing draft exemptions for religious conscientious objectors to war, I cannot join today's construction of § 6 (j) extending draft exemption to those who disclaim religious objections to war and whose views about war represent a purely personal code arising not from religious training and belief as the statute requires but from readings in philosophy, history, and sociology. Our obligation
For me that conclusion should end this case. Even if Welsh is quite right in asserting that exempting religious believers is an establishment of religion forbidden by the First Amendment, he nevertheless remains one of those persons whom Congress took pains not to relieve from military duty. Whether or not § 6 (j) is constitutional, Welsh had no First Amendment excuse for refusing to report for induction. If it is contrary to the express will of Congress to exempt Welsh, as I think it is, then there is no warrant for saving the religious exemption and the statute by redrafting it in this Court to include Welsh and all others like him.
If the Constitution expressly provided that aliens should not be exempt from the draft, but Congress purported to exempt them and no others, Welsh, a citizen, could hardly qualify for exemption by demonstrating that exempting aliens is unconstitutional. By the same token, if the Constitution prohibits Congress from exempting religious believers, but Congress exempts them anyway, why should the invalidity of the exemption create a draft immunity for Welsh? Surely not just because he would otherwise go without a remedy along with all those others not qualifying for exemption under the statute. And not as a reward for seeking a declaration of the invalidity of § 6 (j); for as long as Welsh is among those from whom Congress expressly withheld the exemption, he has no standing to raise the establishment issue even if § 6 (j) would present no First Amendment problems if it had included Welsh and others like him. "[O]ne to whom application of a statute is constitutional will not be heard to attack the
If I am wrong in thinking that Welsh cannot benefit from invalidation of § 6 (j) on Establishment Clause grounds, I would nevertheless affirm his conviction; for I cannot hold that Congress violated the Clause in exempting from the draft all those who oppose war by reason of religious training and belief. In exempting religious conscientious objectors, Congress was making one of two judgments, perhaps both. First, § 6 (j) may represent a purely practical judgment that religious objectors, however admirable, would be of no more use in combat than many others unqualified for military service. Exemption was not extended to them to further religious belief or practice but to limit military service to those who were prepared to undertake the fighting that the armed services have to do. On this basis, the exemption has neither the primary purpose nor the effect of furthering religion. As Mr. Justice Frankfurter, joined by MR. JUSTICE HARLAN, said in a separate opinion in the Sunday Closing Law Cases, 366 U.S. 420, 468 (1961), an establishment contention "can prevail only if the absence of any substantial legislative purpose other than a religious one is made to appear. See Selective Draft Law Cases, 245 U.S. 366."
Second, Congress may have granted the exemption because otherwise religious objectors would be forced into conduct that their religions forbid and because
If there were no statutory exemption for religious objectors to war and failure to provide it was held by this Court to impair the free exercise of religion contrary to the First Amendment, an exemption reflecting this constitutional command would be no more an establishment of religion than the exemption required for Sabbatarians in Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963), or the exemption from the flat tax on book sellers held required for evangelists, Follett v. McCormick, 321 U.S. 573 (1944). Surely a statutory exemption for religionists required by the Free Exercise Clause is not an invalid establishment because it fails to include nonreligious believers as well; nor would it be any less an establishment
On the assumption, however, that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment does not by its own force require exempting devout objectors from military service, it does not follow that § 6 (j) is a law respecting an establishment of religion within the meaning of the First Amendment. It is very likely that § 6 (j) is a recognition by Congress of free exercise values and its view of desirable or required policy in implementing the Free Exercise Clause. That judgment is entitled to respect. Congress has the power "To raise and support Armies" and "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution" that power. Art. I, § 8. The power to raise armies must be exercised consistently with the First Amendment which, among other things, forbids laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion. It is surely essential therefore—surely "necessary and proper"—in enacting laws for the raising of armies to take account of the First Amendment and to avoid possible violations of the Free Exercise Clause. If this was the course Congress took, then just as in Katzenbach v. Morgan, 384 U.S. 641 (1966), where we accepted the judgment of Congress as to what legislation was appropriate to enforce the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, here we should respect congressional judgment accommodating the Free Exercise Clause and the power to raise armies. This involves no surrender of the Court's function as ultimate arbiter in disputes over interpretation of the Constitution. But it was enough in Katzenbach "to perceive a basis upon which the Congress might resolve the conflict as it did," 384 U. S., at 653, and plainly in the case before us there is an arguable basis for § 6 (j) in the Free Exercise Clause since, without the exemption, the law would compel some members of the public to engage in combat
We have said that neither support nor hostility, but neutrality, is the goal of the religion clauses of the First Amendment. "Neutrality," however, is not selfdefining. If it is "favoritism" and not "neutrality" to exempt religious believers from the draft, is it "neutrality" and not "inhibition" of religion to compel religious believers to fight when they have special reasons for not doing so, reasons to which the Constitution gives particular recognition? It cannot be ignored that the First Amendment itself contains a religious classification. The Amendment protects belief and speech, but as a general proposition, the free speech provisions stop short of immunizing conduct from official regulation. The Free Exercise Clause, however, has a deeper cut: it protects conduct as well as religious belief and speech. "[I]t safeguards the free exercise of the chosen form of religion. Thus the Amendment embraces two concepts, —freedom to believe and freedom to act. The first is absolute but, in the nature of things, the second cannot be." Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296, 303-304 (1940). Although socially harmful acts may as a rule be banned despite the Free Exercise Clause even where religiously motivated, there is an area of conduct that cannot be forbidden to religious practitioners but that may be forbidden to others. See United States v. Ballard, 322 U.S. 78 (1944); Follett v.
In Braunfeld v. Brown, 366 U.S. 599 (1961), and Gallagher v. Crown Kosher Market, 366 U.S. 617 (1961), a majority of the Court rejected claims that Sunday closing laws placed unacceptable burdens on Sabbatarians' religious observances. It was not suggested, however, that the Sunday closing laws in 21 States exempting Sabbatarians and others violated the Establishment Clause because no provision was made for others who claimed nonreligious reasons for not working on some particular day of the week. Nor was it intimated in Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306 (1952), that the noestablishment holding might be infirm because only those pursuing religious studies for designated periods were released from the public school routine; neither was it hinted that a public school's refusal to institute a released-time program would violate the Free Exercise Clause. The Court in Sherbert v. Verner, supra, construed the Free Exercise Clause to require special treatment for Sabbatarians under the State's unemployment compensation law. But the State could deal specially with Sabbatarians whether the Free Exercise Clause required it or not, for as MR. JUSTICE HARLAN then said— and I agreed with him—the Establishment Clause would not forbid an exemption for Sabbatarians who otherwise could not qualify for unemployment benefits.
The Establishment Clause as construed by this Court unquestionably has independent significance; its function is not wholly auxiliary to the Free Exercise Clause. It bans some involvements of the State with religion that
I would affirm the judgment below.
While it is by no means always simple to discern the difference between the residual principle in legislation that should be given effect in circumstances not covered by the express statutory terms and the limitation on that principle inherent in the same words, the Court in Seeger and the prevailing opinion today read out language that, in my view, plainly limits the principle rather than illustrates the policy and circumstances that were in mind when § 6 (j) was enacted.
However, even the prevailing opinion's ambulatory concept of "religion" does not suffice to embrace Welsh, since petitioner insisted that his beliefs had been formed "by reading in the fields of history and sociology" and "denied that his objection to war was premised on religious belief." 404 F. 2d, at 1082. That opinion not only establishes a definition of religion that amounts to "Newspeak" but it refuses to listen to petitioner who is speaking the same language.
"And we pass without anything but statement the proposition that an establishment of a religion or an interference with the free exercise thereof repugnant to the First Amendment resulted from the exemption clauses of the act . . . because we think its unsoundness is too apparent to require us to do more." 245 U. S., at 389-390.
The Establishment Clause case that comes most readily to mind as involving "underinclusion" is Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97 (1968). There the State prohibited the teaching of evolutionist theory but "did not seek to excise from the curricula of its schools and universities all discussion of the origin of man." 393 U. S., at 109. The Court held the Arkansas statute, which was framed as a prohibition, unconstitutional. Since the statute authorized no positive action, there was no occasion to consider the remedial problem. Cf. Fowler v. Rhode Island, 345 U.S. 67 (1953). Most of the other cases arising under the Establishment Clause have involved instances where the challenged legislation conferred a benefit on religious as well as secular institutions. See, e. g., Walz v. Tax Comm'n, supra; Everson v. Board of Education, supra; Board of Education v. Allen, supra. These cases, had they been decided differently, would still not have presented the remedial problem that arises in the instant case, for they were cases of alleged "overinclusion." The school prayer cases, School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, supra; and Engel v. Vitale, supra; and the released-time cases, Zorach v. Clauson, supra; McCollum v. Board of Education, supra, also failed to raise the remedial issue. In the school prayer situation the requested relief was an injunction against the saying of prayers. Moreover it is doubtful that there is any analogous secular ritual that could be performed so as to satisfy the neutrality requirement of the First Amendment and even then the practice of saying prayers in schools would still offend the principle of voluntarism that must be satisfied in First Amendment cases. See my separate opinion in Walz v. Tax Comm'n, supra. The same considerations prevented the issue from arising in the one released-time program case that held the practice unconstitutional.
In McCollum, where the Court held unconstitutional a program that permitted "religious teachers, employed by private religious groups . . . to come weekly into the school buildings during the regular hours set apart for secular teaching, and then and there for a period of thirty minutes substitute their religious teaching for the secular education provided under the compulsory education law," 333 U. S., at 205, the relief requested was an order to mandamus the authorities to discontinue the program. No question arose as to whether the program might have been saved by extending a similar privilege to other students who wished extracurricular instruction in, for example, atheistic or secular ethics and morals. Cf. my separate opinion in Walz v. Tax Comm'n, supra. Moreover as in the prayer cases, since the defect in the Illinois program was not the mere absence of neutrality but also the encroachment on "voluntarism," see ibid., it is doubtful whether there existed any remedial alternative to voiding the entire program. A further complication would have arisen in these cases by virtue of the more limited discretion this Court enjoys to extend a policy for the States even as a constitutional remedy. Cf. Skinner v. Oklahoma, supra; Morey v. Doud, 354 U.S. 457 (1957); Dorchy v. Kansas, 264 U.S. 286 (1924).
While Mr. Justice Brandeis in a dissenting opinion in Nat. Life Ins. Co., supra, at 522, 534-535, expressed the view that a severability clause in terms like that before us now is not intended to authorize amendment by expanding the scope of legislation, his remarks must be taken in the context of a dissent to a course he deemed contrary to that Congress would have chosen. Thus, after quoting Hill v. Wallace, 259 U.S. 44, 71 (1922), to the effect that a severability clause "furnishes assurance to courts that they may properly sustain separate sections or provisions of a partly invalid act without hesitation or doubt as to whether they would have been adopted, even if the legislature had been advised of the invalidity of part [b]ut . . . does not give . . . power to amend the act," Justice Brandeis observed, that: "Even if such a Clause could ever permit a court to enlarge the scope of a deduction allowed by a taxing statute, . . . the asserted unconstitutionality can be cured as readily by [excision] as by [enlargement]" and that the former would most likely have been the congressional preference in that particular case. Cf. Iowa-Des Moines National Bank v. Bennett, supra.