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Lemon v. Kurtzman Supreme Court of the United States, 1971. 403 U.S. 602, 91 S. Ct. 2105.

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Presentation on theme: "Lemon v. Kurtzman Supreme Court of the United States, 1971. 403 U.S. 602, 91 S. Ct. 2105."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lemon v. Kurtzman Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. 602, 91 S. Ct

2 Scenario 1 The state of Wyoming has found that 20% of the state’s students are in non-public schools and 96% attended church-related schools most of which were Roman Catholic. A statute has been put in place so that teachers in the non-public institutions may be reimbursed for specified ‘secular education services’ for non public education (salaries, textbooks, instructional materials). Reimbursement, however, is limited to courses presented in the curricula of public education. Any subject matter expressing religious teaching, or the morals or forms of worship of any sect is prohibited.

3 The Pennsylvania Nonpublic Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1968  Authorized the state Superintendent of Public Instruction to “purchase” specified “secular educational services” for non- public education  Restrictions: reimbursement is limited to courses presented in the curricula of the public schools, limited solely to secular subjects, prohibits reimbursement for any course that contains “any subject matter expressing religious teaching, or the morals or forms of worship of any sect.”  20% of the state’s students at the time were in non-public schools, 96% of those students attended church-related schools most of which were Roman Catholic. The District Court concluded that the Act violated NEITHER the Establishment nor the Free Exercise Clause

4 Scenario 2 The state of Colorado has found that 25% of all students in the state (K-12) are attending private schools, with 96% of them being in Roman Catholic Schools. To ensure the quality of these students education, the state would like to place the best educators in front of these students and has agreed to supplement, directly, the teachers of secular (non-religious) subjects with a stipend of up to 15% of their current annual salary. These teachers cannot teach a course in religion as long as they are receiving the stipend.

5 The Rhode Island Salary Supplemental Act of 1969  State officials supplement salaries of secular subjects in non-public elementary schools by paying directly to a teacher.  Eligibility: (a) recipient must teach in a school where the average per pupil expenditure is less than the average in the public schools, (b) teacher must teach only those subjects that are offered in the public schools, (c) the teacher must agree in writing to “not to teach a course in religion for so long as or during such time as he or she receives any salary supplements”.  25% of the state’s students at that time in non-public schools, 95% of those students attended Roman Catholic schools. The District Court concluded that the Act violated the Establishment Clause - it fostered ‘excessive entanglement’ between government and religion.

6 Lemon v. Kurtzman  Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. 602, 91 S. Ct  Appellant: Alton J. Lemon, ACLU, lead plaintiff in the Pennsylvania case  Appellee: David H. Kurtzman, Superintendent of Public Instruction of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

7 The Decision “The judgment of the Rhode Island District Court…is affirmed. The judgment of the Pennsylvania District Court...is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion…” p.194  Rhode Island decision: 8-0  Chief Justice Burger for the Court  Pennsylvania decision: 7-0  Chief Justice Burger for the Court, Brennan and White concurring in part and dissenting in part, Marshall not participating.

8 The Lemon Test This case has since been used as the Lemon Test for determining if a law is counter to the Establishment Clause: 1.The statute must have a secular (not overtly or specifically religious) legislative purpose; 2.the statute’s primary effect must be one that neither advances nor hinders religion; and 3. the statute must not foster “an excessive governmental entanglement with religion”.

9 Decision Making: PSD The two primary principles guiding professional judgment on issues relating to Board Policy IMDC, Religious Observances and Displays/Teaching About Religion, are: The Application of the Three-Part Test (1) Purpose: Is the purpose of the activity educational? (2) Effect: Is the effect of the activity one that does not promote religion? (3) Excessive Entanglement: Does the activity not require or involve excessive relationships between the schools and religious organizations?

10 Decision Making: PSD The Test of Consistency with the Intent of the Policy Decision makers are charged with the responsibility for exercising professional judgment in determining consistency between the activity in question and the intent to demonstrate a respect for the dignity of individuals and their beliefs.

11 Neutrality: Thompson School District 1.Does the activity have a secular purpose? Activities that do not have a secular purpose are prohibited. 2.Is the primary effect of the activity one that advances or inhibits religion? If the primary effect of the activity advances or inhibits religion, it shall be prohibited. 3. Does the activity involve an excessive entanglement between the school and a religious organization? If the activity does cause such an entanglement, it shall be prohibited.


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