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News Posted on February 16, 2017

Professor Brownstein Publishes Commentary in U.S. News on Johnson Amendment Repeal Effort

Professor Emeritus Alan Brownstein published a commentary in U.S. News & World Report on President Trump’s call to repeal the Johnson Amendment, a tax code provision prohibiting tax exempt nonprofit organizations from engaging in political campaigns for electoral candidates.

Warning that “Congressional caution is necessary here,” Brownstein raises numerous questions regarding the scope of the repeal, what limits on political activities would apply if the amendment were repealed, how a repeal would impact campaign financing, and how it would affect churches, which for many represent a welcome respite from political divisions.

“Americans are more than political antagonists,” writes Brownstein. “We can see each other as people and families with far more in common with each other than the political disagreements that divide us.  To do that, we heed to have neutral spaces where we can leave partisan divisions behind us.  Charities should be places where our common humanity and the American virtues we share of generosity and service come to the fore. Houses of worship should be places where we are neither Democrats nor Republicans, but rather people joined in humanity and humility in spiritual fellowship and worship.”

Professor Brownstein, a nationally recognized Constitutional Law scholar, taught Constitutional Law, Law and Religion, and Torts at UC Davis School of Law for more than 30 years. Prior to his retirement from full-time teaching, he held the Boochever and Bird Endowed Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality.