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Title: Drawing the line : religion, education, and the Establishment Clause, 1947-1997
Author: Long, Emma
ISNI:       0000 0004 2678 267X
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2009
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In 1947, in Everson v. Board of Education, the United States Supreme Court held for the first time that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. The Establishment Clause states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" and governs the institutional relationships between the churches and the state in the United States. With Everson began a controversial and long-running debate: what exactly does the Establishment Clause mean and what kinds of relationship between church and state are forbidden under its terms? As arbiter of the Constitution, the task of interpreting the Clause and its meaning in the modern United States fell to the Supreme Court. This thesis investigates the Court's interpretation of the Establishment Clause between Everson in 1947 and Agostini v. Felton in 1997, when the Court overruled itself for the first time in this area of constitutional law. This thesis focuses on the Court's decisions in the area of schools and education policy, such cases accounting for a majority of the Court's Establishment Clause jurisprudence. It considers school aid and the provision of government benefits to religious schools and their students, school prayer and other school-sponsored religious exercises on public school grounds, and equal access, the question of voluntary student-initiated religious activities on public school premises. In seeking to investigate the Court's decisions, three main influences are considered: the opinions of the Court, the Justices' private discussions and the alignment of Justices in each case, and the social and political context against which the cases arose and were decided. This thesis takes an historical approach to analysing these events and investigates influences on the Court beyond those of legal origin. In taking this approach, the thesis addresses how and why the Court made its decisions and rulings, the consequences of those rulings for the meaning of the Establishment Clause, and the effect of both on the relationship between the institutions of the churches and the state in the modern United States.
Supervisor: Conyne, George R. ; Jones, Karen C. ; Turley, David M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: E151 United States (General)