Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,400+ case briefs...

Lemon v. Kurtzman

United States Supreme Court
403 U.S. 602 (1971)



Pennsylvania enacted a statute providing financial support to nonpublic elementary schools, including church-related schools, that gave reimbursement for teacher salaries, textbooks, and instructional materials for some secular subjects. Rhode Island enacted a statute under which the state paid teachers in nonpublic schools, including church-related schools, a 15 percent supplement of their annual salary. Teachers were only eligible for the supplement if they taught subjects offered in public schools with instructional materials used in public schools, and if they agreed in writing not to teach religion classes while receiving the salary supplement. Lemon (plaintiff) was a parent of a child in public school in Pennsylvania. Lemon, other citizens and taxpayers of Pennsylvania, and associations of Pennsylvania residents who believed in the separation of church and state brought suit in federal district court against state officials including Kurtzman, who was the Pennsylvania Superintendent of Public Instruction (defendants), alleging the Pennsylvania statute violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The district court granted the state's motion to dismiss, concluding that the statute did not violate either the Establishment Clause or the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Rhode Island citizens and taxpayers brought an action in federal district court challenging the Rhode Island statute. The district court struck down the statute, concluding that the statute violated the Establishment Clause. The United States Supreme Court considered the appeals in both actions.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Burger, C.J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 489,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 489,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,400 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial