Edwards v. Aguillard (1987)482 U.S. 578 | Rehnquist Court

Resources » Edwards v. Aguillard (1987)


The Court examined whether a Louisiana law that forbade the teaching of the theory of evolution in public schools unless accompanied by instruction in “creation science” violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. In a 7-2 decision, the Court held that the Louisiana statute violated the Establishment Clause, because it failed all parts of the 3-pronged test from Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), in that it: (prong 1) lacked a clear secular purpose, (prong 2) endorsed religion by advancing the religious belief that a supernatural being created humankind, and (prong 3) entangled the interests of church and state by seeking “to employ the symbolic and financial support of government to achieve a religious purpose.”