Abstract

PREACHING TO THE PUBLIC SCHOOL CHOIR: THE ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE, RACHEL BAUCHMAN, AND THE SEARCH FOR THE ELUSIVE BRIGHT LINE

JULIAN R. KOSSOW

Copyright 1996 Florida State University Law Review

One of the central Establishment Clause issues has been the need to ascertain the allowable proportion of religion in public schools. Because children are susceptible to authority and may not have the defenses necessary to screen out improper suggestions, the Court has heard numerous cases that deal with this issue. Part II of this Article examines the Rachel Bauchman case.Currently on appeal in the Tenth Circuit, this case involves the question of whether a fifteen-year-old Jewish girl's Establishment Clause rights were violated by the use of overtly Christian religious music and by the actions of the director of the public school choir of which she was a member. Part III of this Article analyzes significant Establishment Clause decisions in the Warren and Burger Courts, exploring in particular the parentage and progeny of the Lemon test. Part IV analyzes notable Establishment Clause opinions in the Rehnquist Court and illustrates how these decisions are systematically dismantling the protection of the Establishment Clause. Part V articulates both a response to the accommodationist trend of the Rehnquist Court and a suggested answer to the Rachel Bauchman case. Finally, part VI proposes a return to a rigorous application of the Lemon test as the most suitable bright line for separating church and state in public school cases.

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