The opinion of the United States Supreme Court in the...

The Christian Science Monitor

The opinion of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Crane against Johnson and others, decided last week, has been filed, and it clears away the somewhat self-conflicting report by which the decision was first announced. It shows that the highest American court squarely held that it was competent for the state of California to recognize a distinction in its legislation between the use of suggestion and the use of prayer.

This was an action brought by P. L. Crane, a chiropracter or drugless practitioner, against the governor, the attorney-general, and a district attorney of California, to enjoin them from enforcing a statute of that state which provides for examining and licensing drugless practitioners as well as physicians and surgeons, but contains this provision: "Nor shall this act be construed so as to discriminate against any particular schoold of medicine or surgery, or any other treatment, nor to regulate, prohibit, or apply to any kind of treatment by prayer, nor to interfere in any way with the practice of religion." His contention was that this statute is unconstitutional and void because the distinction it makes between prayer and other drugless practices, including his own practice, is arbitrary and does not constitute a reasonable classification of subjects for different statutory provisions. His own practice he described as the use of faith, hope, and the processes of mental suggestion and mental adaptation.

The court in which the action was commenced, the United States District Court for the southern district of California, Judges Ross, Trippitt, and Cushman sitting, denied the plaintiff's application for an interlocutory injunction. Thereupon be took an appeal directly to the Supreme Court by reason of the constitutional question which the case presented. In the court of last resort the opinion was written by Mr. Justice McKenna, who by the way is a Californian, the chief justice and the other justices concurring. The opinion is a short one, considering the importance of the issues involved, but it plainly holds that a distinction for the purpose of legislation between the complainant's drugless practice and the use of prayer is not arbitrary but is constitutional.

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