lemon v kurtzman 1971



Lemon v. Kurtzman 1971

The name of the case is Lemon v. Kurtzman; the Chief Justice in charge of the case was Warren Burger. The case was argued on March 3, 1971 and decided on June 28, 1971. These three cases from Pennsylvania and Rhode Island involved public assistance to private schools, some of which were religious. Pennsylvania\'s law included paying the salaries of teachers in parochial schools, assisting the purchasing of textbooks, and other teaching supplies. In Rhode Island, the State paid 15% of the salaries of private school teachers. A federal court upheld the Pennsylvania law while a District Court ruled that the Rhode Island law fostered \'excessive entanglement\'.
The case is about actions challenging constitutionality of state aid to, or for the benefit of, nonpublic schools. A three-judge United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island said that the Rhode Island statute was unconstitutional, while a three-judge United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, dismissed the complaint that challenged the Pennsylvania statute, and appeals were taken. The Supreme Court, Chief Justice Burger, held that both statutes, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, were unconstitutional under the religion clauses of the First Amendment.
The Courts decision was unanimous 8-0; it determined that the case was unconstitutional. The decision stated that there are three criteria that should be used to assess legislation: "First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances or inhibits religion; finally, the statute must not foster and excessive government Entanglement with religion." The teachers whose salaries are partially being paid by the State are religious agents who work under the rule of religious officials. There is an innate conflict in this situation of which the state should remain clear. To guarantee that teachers play a non-ideological role would require the state to become involved with the church. Allowing this connection could lead to political problems in areas in which a large number of students attend religious schools.




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