|Former Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court|
From: December 18, 1889 – March 27, 1910
|Successor||Charles Evans Hughes|
|Spouse(s)||Louise Landon; Emma Mott|
His father was a Protestant missionary in Turkey when he was born, and Justice Brewer remained a devoted member of the Congregational church who was active in missionary work. He was a prolific writer best known for his scholarly decision in defense of religion in the Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States.
In his book The United States: A Christian Nation, Brewer said the following:
|“||[I]n what sense can [America] be called a Christian nation? Not in the sense that Christianity is the established religion or that the people are in any manner compelled to support it. On the contrary, the Constitution specifically provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Neither is it Christian in the sense that all its citizens are either in fact or name Christians. On the contrary, all religions have free scope within our borders. Numbers of our people profess other religions, and many reject all. Nor is it Christian in the sense that a profession of Christianity is a condition of holding office or otherwise engaging in public service, or essential to recognition either politically or socially. In fact, the government as a legal organization is independent of all religions. Nevertheless, we constantly speak of this republic as a Christian nation – in fact, as the leading Christian nation of the world.||”|
Brewer also dissented in Jacobson v. Massachusetts, a 1905 Supreme Court case that upheld a Massachusetts law imposing a small fine for refusing the smallpox vaccine.
- David J. Brewer, The United States: A Christian Nation (Philadelphia: John C. Winston Company, 1905), p. 12.