While vetoing state subsidies for teachers of parochial schools, the Supreme Court established a three-part Lemon test for evaluating whether governmental programs ran afoul of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
In 1968 the Pennsylvania legislature enacted a statute allowing direct salary supplements for teachers of secular subjects in private schools. Alton Lemon, supported by the American Civil Liberties Union,
Chief Justice Warren E. Burger’s
The Lemon test, in its application, is susceptible to a great deal of interpretation, depending on whether the particular justice desires “accommodation” or a “high wall of separation” between church and state. Applying the test often split the justices into 5-4 votes. Although often criticized, the Lemon test has endured because a majority of the justices have been unable to coalesce behind an alternative standard. In Agostini v. Felton
Agostini v. Felton
Religion, establishment of
Wallace v. Jaffree