Establishment Clause

Establishment Clause of the First Amendmentestablishment of religionestablishmentEstablishment Clausesrespecting an establishment of religionConstitutionEstablishment Causeestablishment of state religionFirst Amendment Establishment Clauseinfringement
In United States law, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, together with that Amendment's Free Exercise Clause, form the constitutional right of freedom of religion.wikipedia
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First Amendment to the United States Constitution

First AmendmentFirstU.S. Const. amend. I
In United States law, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, together with that Amendment's Free Exercise Clause, form the constitutional right of freedom of religion.
The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prevents the government from making laws which regulate an establishment of religion, prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

Free Exercise Clause

free exercise of religionfree exerciseFree Exercise Clause of the First Amendment
In United States law, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, together with that Amendment's Free Exercise Clause, form the constitutional right of freedom of religion.
The Free Exercise Clause accompanies the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Everson v. Board of Education

EversonEverson v. Board of Ed. of Ewing
In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Supreme Court upheld a New Jersey statute funding student transportation to schools, whether parochial or not.
Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947), was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court which applied the Establishment Clause in the country's Bill of Rights to State law.

United States Bill of Rights

Bill of RightsU.S. Bill of RightsUS Bill of Rights
In 1789, then-congressman James Madison prepared another draft which, following discussion and debate in the First Congress, would become part of the text of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.
The First Amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

Lemon v. Kurtzman

Lemon testLemon'' testLemon
In Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), the Supreme Court ruled that government may not "excessively entangle" with religion.
The court ruled in an 8–1 decision that Pennsylvania's Nonpublic Elementary and Secondary Education Act (represented through David Kurtzman) from 1968 was unconstitutional, violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Thomas Jefferson

JeffersonPresident JeffersonJeffersonian
The statute was drafted by Thomas Jefferson in 1777 and was introduced in the Virginia General Assembly in 1779.
The phrase 'Separation of Church and State' has been cited several times by the Supreme Court in its interpretation of the Establishment Clause.

Zelman v. Simmons-Harris

The Supreme Court, in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002), upheld the constitutionality of private school vouchers, turning away an Establishment Clause challenge.
The Court decided that the program did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment even if the vouchers could be used for private, religious schools.

Incorporation of the Bill of Rights

incorporatedincorporationincorporation doctrine
Subsequently, under the Incorporation doctrine, the Bill of Rights has been broadly applied to limit state and local government as well.
Guarantee against establishment of religion

Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe

Santa Fe Independent School Dist. v. DoeruledSanta Fe ISD v. Doe
In Santa Fe Independent School Dist. v. Doe (2000), the Court ruled that a vote of the student body could not authorize student-led prayer prior to school events.
It ruled that a policy permitting student-led, student-initiated prayer at high school football games violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Engel v. Vitale

denial of prayerEngelremove prayer from public schools
One of the Court's most controversial decisions came in Engel v. Vitale in 1962.
The plaintiffs argued that opening the school day with such a prayer violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment), which states, in part, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion".

Lee v. Weisman

coercion testcoerce
In Lee v. Weisman (1992), the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional the offering of prayers by religious officials before voluntarily attending ceremonies such as graduation.
The Court followed a broad interpretation of the Establishment Clause that had been standard for decades at the nation's highest court, a reaffirmation of the principles of such landmark cases as Engel v. Vitale and Abington v. Schempp.

Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow

Newdow v. United States CongressElk Grove Unified School Dist. v. NewdowNewdow v. Elk Grove Unified School District
In 2002, controversy centered on a ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow (2002), which struck down a California law providing for the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance (which includes the phrase "under God") in classrooms.
The lawsuit, originally filed as Newdow v. United States Congress, Elk Grove Unified School District, et al. in 2000, led to a 2002 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are an endorsement of religion and therefore violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Abington School District v. Schempp

lawsMurray v. CurlettSchool Dist. of Abington Township v. Schempp
In Abington Township v. Schempp (1963), the case involving the mandatory reading of the Lord's Prayer in class, the Supreme Court introduced the "secular purpose" and "primary effect" tests, which were to be used to determine compatibility with the establishment clause.
The Court explicitly upheld Engel v. Vitale, in which the Court ruled that the sanctioning of a prayer by the school amounted to a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union

County of Allegheny v. ACLUAllegheny County v. Greater Pittsburgh ACLUCounty of Allegheny v. ACLU Greater Pittsburgh Chapter
The inclusion of religious symbols in public holiday displays came before the Supreme Court in Lynch v. Donnelly (1984), and again in Allegheny County v. Greater Pittsburgh ACLU (1989).
In a complex and fragmented decision, the majority held that the County of Allegheny violated the Establishment Clause by displaying a crèche in the county courthouse, because the "principle or primary effect" of the display was to advance religion within the meaning of Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), when viewed in its overall context.

Lynch v. Donnelly

The inclusion of religious symbols in public holiday displays came before the Supreme Court in Lynch v. Donnelly (1984), and again in Allegheny County v. Greater Pittsburgh ACLU (1989). In Lynch v. Donnelly the Supreme Court also developed with the endorsement test a further test to determine the constitutionality under the Establishment Clause of certain government actions.
The plaintiffs brought the suit to the District Court of Rhode Island, which permanently enjoined the city from displaying the Nativity scene as a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union

McCreary County v. ACLU of KentuckyMcCreary County v. ACLUMcCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union of Ky.
On March 2, 2005, the Supreme Court heard arguments for two cases involving religious displays, Van Orden v. Perry and McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky.
At issue was whether the Court should continue to inquire into the purpose behind a religious display and whether evaluation of the government's claim of secular purpose for the religious displays may take evolution into account under an Establishment Clause of the First Amendment analysis.

Van Orden v. Perry

On March 2, 2005, the Supreme Court heard arguments for two cases involving religious displays, Van Orden v. Perry and McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky.
Van Orden v. Perry, 545 U.S. 677 (2005), was a United States Supreme Court case involving whether a display of the Ten Commandments on a monument given to the government at the Texas State Capitol in Austin violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Separation of church and state

disestablishmentchurch and stateseparation of religion and state
The Jefferson quotation cited in Black's opinion is from a letter Jefferson wrote in 1802 to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, that there should be "a wall of separation between church and state."
Under the United States Constitution, the treatment of religion by the government is broken into two clauses: the establishment clause and the free exercise clause.

Separation of church and state in the United States

separation of church and statewall of separationseparation between church and state
"Separation of church and state" is paraphrased from Thomas Jefferson and used by others in expressing an understanding of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

Warren Court

Warrendue process revolutionthe Warren majorities
Further important decisions came in the 1960s, during the Warren Court era.

School voucher

school voucherseducation vouchervouchers
One of the largest recent controversies over the amendment centered on school vouchers—government aid for students to attend private and predominantly religious schools.
The Supreme Court ruled that the Ohio program did not violate the Establishment Clause, because it passed a five-part test developed by the Court in this case, titled the Private Choice Test.

Endorsement test

endorsement or disapproval" testendorsinggovernment endorsement of religion
In Lynch v. Donnelly the Supreme Court also developed with the endorsement test a further test to determine the constitutionality under the Establishment Clause of certain government actions.
The endorsement test proposed by United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in the 1984 case of Lynch v. Donnelly asks whether a particular government action amounts to an endorsement of religion, thus violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Stone v. Graham

These were the first cases directly dealing with display of the Ten Commandments the Court had heard since Stone v. Graham (1980).
In Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980), the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that a Kentucky statute was unconstitutional and in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, because it lacked a nonreligious, legislative purpose.

White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiativesfaith-based initiativesfaith-based initiative
Critics of the OFBCI, including Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union, assert that it violated the Establishment Clause by using tax money to fund religion.

Pledge of Allegiance

Pledge of Allegiance (United States)The Pledge of Allegianceunder God
In 2002, controversy centered on a ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow (2002), which struck down a California law providing for the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance (which includes the phrase "under God") in classrooms.
Another criticism is that a government requiring or promoting the phrase "under God" violates protections against the establishment of religion guaranteed in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.