Brief Fact Summary. This case seeks to reverse the Court’s mandate in a prior case, Aguilar v. Felton, 473 U.S. 402 (1985), on the grounds that Establishment Clause jurisprudence has changed and thereby overruled the holding of Aguilar.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. This case stands for the proposition that the Establishment Clause is not static, but rather dynamic and jurisprudence regarding its application needs to be reviewed in terms with societal changes.
To determine whether the government entanglement with religion is excessive, we must examine the character and purposes of the institutions that are benefited, the nature of the aid that the State provides, and the resulting relationship between the government and the religious authority.View Full Point of Law
Issue. This case considers whether a prior judgment can be overturned on the basis that Establishment Clause jurisprudence invalidates its.
Held. The Court held that Aguilar could be overturned and remanded, directing the District Court to lift its Aguilar injunctions in the interest of judicial efficiency. This holding allowed for Title I funds to be sent directly to parochial schools, for their own use, so long as it was not inconsistent with the Establishment Clause.
Dissent. Justice David Souter (J. Souter) dissented, disagreeing with the authorization of direct State aid to religious institutions.
Discussion. In reviewing Establishment Clause jurisprudence, the Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) will consider the current needs of society and balance them with enforcement of the clause.