What SCOTUS Wrote Us  

What SCOTUS Wrote Us

Author: Pippah Getchell

A podcast entirely dedicated to reading you the opinions of the Supreme Court of the United States. Enjoy the convenience of listening to audio versions of past and current opinions of the Court. A rare resource for students, teachers, and the civic-minded.
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Language: en-us

Genres: Government, News, Politics

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Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) Majority Opinion (Lemon Test, Establishment Clause, State Funding for Religious Schools)
Episode 55
Saturday, 24 September, 2022

Audio of the 1971 Opinion of the Court in Lemon v. Kurtzman. In 1968 and 1969 Pennsylvania and Rhode Island passed similar laws that allocated state funding to supplement the teaching of secular material in private religious schools. In both cases, tax-paying citizens sued to have the respective state laws declared unconstitutional, arguing that they violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. When these cases, combined, made it before the Supreme Court, they agreed. The Court held that a statute must pass a three-pronged test (known as the Lemon test) in order to avoid violating the Establishment Clause. According to the Lemon test, the statute must have three things: a secular legislative purpose, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither promotes nor inhibits religion, and it must not foster “excessive government entanglement with religion.” All three of the prongs in the test had to be satisfied for a law to survive a challenge under the Establishment Clause. And I use the past-tense "had" just now because, earlier this year, the Supreme Court held, in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, that the Lemon test shall no longer be the legal standard for determining whether a law violates the establishment clause. Instead, the Court shall rely solely on an analysis historical practices and understandings rather than any kind of test regarding the law's legislative purpose, effects, or possible entanglement between government and religion. I'll be reading Kennedy v. Bremerton School District in the next episode. Access this SCOTUS opinion with citations and other essential information:   Music by Epidemic Sound


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