• Chapter Five: First Amendment

  • The first amendment includes two clauses relating to the freedom of religion. Select a case and identify the First Amendment clause upon which the United States’ Supreme Court based their decision. Describe the Supreme Court’s decision in the case that you selected.

  • Select one case and identify the First Amendment clause upon which the Supreme Court based their decision. Describe the Supreme Court’s decision in the case that you selected.

  • Many of these decisions have caused controversy in the United States. Describe two ways in which other politic institutions might limit the impact of Supreme Court decisions.

  • The Supreme Court’s decision in Lemon Versus Kurtzman was based on the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. They decided that only legislation that could pass the Lemon Test was constitutional. The Lemon Test required that

    1. The statute must not result in an excessive government entanglement with religious affairs (also known as the Entanglement Prong).
    2. The statute must not advance or inhibit religious practice (also known as the Effect Prong).
    3. The statute must have a secular legislative purpose (also known as the Purpose Prong).
  • The Supreme Court’s decision in Employment Division Versus Smith was based on the Free Exercise Law of the First Amendment. They decided that neutral laws of general applicability do not violate the Free Exercise Law. Since sacramental peyote use was prohibited, it was acceptable to deny unemployment benefits to persons discharged for such use.

  • One way in which other political institutions might limit the Supreme Court’s decision is to pass a constitutional amendment. Another way would be the executive branch simply not enforcing their decision.

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