Revenue Bonds and Religious Education: The Constitutionality of Conduit Financing Involving Pervasively Sectarian Institutions

The Establishment Clause – and particularly the issue of government funding of religious education – is one of the murkiest areas of Supreme Court jurisprudence. The Supreme Court has acknowledged as much, and the sharp divide in the Court’s most recent forays into Establishment Clause territory illustrates the point that the current jurisprudential standards allow for a broad range of interpretation. There is some hope that the Supreme court will provide further clarification of its Establishment Clause standard in the near future. For now, however, it appears that the dominant mode of the Establishment Clause analysis is the examination of a government program’s purpose and effect, a test first articulated in 1970 in Lemon v. Kurtzman and modified over twenty years later in Agostini v. Felton.