Lemon v. Kurtzman
Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) was a landmark, 8-0, Supreme Court decision marking a victory for the liberal interpretation of separation of church and state. The decision established a test called the "Lemon Test" which was used to determine whether or not federal funds could be appropriated to be spent at a Catholic or other parochial school.
Under the "Lemon Test," to pass constitutional muster as a law that does not violate the Establishment Clause, a law must:
- Have a legitimate secular purpose, and,
- Not have the primary effect of either inhibiting or advancing religion, and,
- Not promote excessive entanglement between church & state.
Any law can be invalidated on any one of the above three requirements of the Lemon Test.
In practice the ruling has been applied sporadically to impose a test for separation of church and state under the First Amendment that is hostile to almost any religious expression on government property.