Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Lemon v. Kurtzman

Case Name: Lemon v. Kurtzman

Year: 1971

Result: 5-3, favor Kurtzman

Related Constitutional Issue/Amendment: Amendment I, Establishment Clause

Civil Rights or Civil Liberties: Civil Liberties

Significance/Precedent: The Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional for the government to fund a religious school, because this violated the establishment clause outlined in the First Amendment. This emphasized the separation of the church from the government, specifically government spending. It followed Engel v. Vitale and reinforced the Supreme Court's ideas about the relationship between schools and religion. This case also established the Lemon test. The Lemon test added a third provision for the Court to consider in deciding whether or not something violates the establishment clause in Amendment I. The law cannot foster "an excessive government entanglement with religion". Because this is so broad and vague, it has been debated over.

Quote from Majority Opinion: "A given law might not establish a state religion, but nevertheless be one "respecting" that end in the sense of being a step that could lead to such establishment, and hence offend the First Amendment."

Summary of the Dissent: There was no official written dissent, but there were concurrences written that disagreed with specific parts of the majority opinion.

Six-word Summary: No government religious funding, Lemon Test

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