90 W. Va. L. Rev. 109 (1987-88)
Trimming the Ivy: A Bicentennial Re-Examination of the Establishment Clause

handle is hein.journals/wvb90 and id is 119 raw text is: TRIMMING THE IVY: A BICENTENNIAL
RE-EXAMINATION OF THE
ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE
WIlLIAM C. PORTH*
ROBERT P. GEORGE**
INTRODUCTION
A little to the north and east of Charlottesville, in Orange County,
Virginia, on the property of a modern winery, stands the remains
of a great house. It was designed around 1814 by that American
polymath, Thomas Jefferson, for his friend James Barbour, dip-
lomat, United States Senator, Secretary of War, and Governor of
the Commonwealth of Virginia.' Today the house is a desolate ruin.
The imposing bulk of the decayed lower stories and a few clusters
of broken columns attest to a grandeur that can now only be imag-
ined. Ivy trails luxuriantly over the wreckage.
James Barbour's mansion is not the only artifact of the early
years of the Republic and the genius of its founders, the original
fabric of which is covered by. an unmanageable growth, as of ivy.
A far more important artifact in this class is the foundational in-
strument of our government, the Constitution of the United States.
In one respect, the Constitution is in much better shape than Gov-
ernor Barbour's house; words can outlast the strongest brick and
stone. But, even though the words of the Constitution survive exactly
as our forefathers wrote them, they have, over the course of two
centuries, become so encrusted with the ivy of judicial interpretation
as to have become, in parts, almost wholly obscured.
* B.A. 1978, Washington & Lee University; J.D. 1981, Harvard University; partner in the
firm of Robinson & McElwee, Charleston, West Virginia.
** Assistant Professor of Public Law and Jurisprudence, Department of Politics, Princeton
University; B.A. 1977, Swarthmore College; M.T.S. 1981, Harvard University; J.D. 1981, Harvard
University; D. Phil. 1986, Oxford University; member of the bars of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
I Labels on bottle No. 1768 of the Barboursville Vineyards 1980 Virginia Pinot Chardonnay
in author's collection; 5 NATIONAL CYCLOPAEDIA oF AmERicAN BIOGRAPHY 82 (1907).

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