What is the ‘Lemon test’ for religious mottos and displays in public settings?

Friday, December 13, 2002

In its 1971 decision Lemon v. Kurtzman, the Supreme Court set forth a three-pronged inquiry commonly known as the Lemon test. To pass this test, thereby allowing the display or motto to remain, the government conduct (1) must have a secular purpose, (2) must have a principal or primary effect that does not advance or inhibit religion, and (3) cannot foster an excessive government entanglement with religion.