Lemon v. Kurtzman
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Time Period
6/28/1971
Description
The Supreme Court's ruling in Lemon v. Kurtzman established an influential precedent (the "Lemon test") for whether a law violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. According to this three-pronged test, a law does not violate the Establishment Clause if (a) it has a secular purpose, (b) its main effect is not to advance nor inhibit religion, and (c) it does not promote excessive entanglement with religion. This test was used to rule on the constitutionality of statutes in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island (the former was the subject of the Lemon case, the latter was the subject of a case decided concurrently) that provided public money to supplement the salaries of teachers in private schools, including parochial schools. The Supreme Court ruled that both statutes violated the Establishment Clause, as they would lead to excessive government entanglement with religion.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Prominent Religious Events and People in American History
Photographs

David Kurtzman portrait- University Archives, University of Pittsburgh

Chief Justice Warren Burger- US Government photo

Archbishop Wood Catholic High School, Warminster PA- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Tomshakely
Source(s)
Lee, Francis Graham, 2002. Church-State Relations. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Web Page Contributor
Robert Martin
Affliated with: Assistant Professor, Southeastern Lousiana University

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