Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Story Behind the Lemon Case

For those interested in the background of perhaps the most important Establishment Clause case ever, I've posted on SSRN this draft chapter, "Lemon v. Kurtzman: The Parochial-School Crisis and the Establishment Clause."  It's from a forthcoming book, edited by Leslie Griffin, called Law and Religion Cases in Context, an entry in Aspen Publisher's new series of stories about famous cases (corresponding to Foundation's "Law Stories" series that many of you know).  The abstract:

This chapter . . . traces the background and implications of Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), the case that is famous for its 3-part Establishment Clause test and that also inaugurated a series of decisions in the 1970s and early 1980s striking down state efforts to assist parochial schools and the children attending them. In addition to summarizing the arguments, holding, and general implications of Lemon, the chapter draws attention to background and nuances: the parochial-school financial crisis that triggered these laws, the vigorous but unsuccessful attempt of the NAACP and other plaintiffs to challenge the laws for allegedly promoting white flight from urban neighborhoods, and factors (including changes in religious and racial demographics) that contributed first to the rise of Lemon's no-aid approach and then to its decline in recent decisions such as the Cleveland voucher case.

The overall volume should be very good, with contributions from, among other lawprofs, Michael McConnell, Marci Hamilton, Sam Levine (Pepperdine), and Marie Failinger (Hamline).


Berg, Thomas | Permalink

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