Lemon v. Kurtzman

Lemon v. Kurtzman
The Facts.
 Argued March 3, 1971
 Decided June 28, 1971
 Pennsylvania and Rhode Island provided church-related
elementary and secondary schools with funds.
 A group of taxpayers and religious liberty organizations filed
a law suit.
 Claimed that these funds violated the Establishment Clause
The Questions.
 Did Pennsylvania and Rhode Island violate the First
Amendment’s Establishment Clause?
 Can states provided non-public schools with aid or financial
support in the form of:
 Reimbursements?
 Paying salary supplements?
The Decision.
 The decision was unanimous (8-0):
 The court ruled that both state’s programs violated the
Establishment Clause.
 Both state’s programs caused there to be an excess of
involvement between the state and a religious entity.
The Effects.
 Chief Justice Burger, speaking for the court as a whole,
established a 3 part test, called the Lemon Test, for laws
dealing with religious establishments:
 1. The government’s action must possess a secular legislative
 2. The government’s action must not have the primary purpose
of advancing or inhibiting religion.
 3. The government’s action must not result in “excessive
government entanglement” with religion.