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Over the past 60 years, the 16 words in the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the First Amendment rank among the most litigated language in the entire U.S. Constitution. Enacted as part of the Bill of Rights in 1791, the First Amendment declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

At the outset, it is worth noting that the goal of this entry is to provide an overview of Supreme Court litigation under the Establishment Clause in disputes involving state aid to K-12 religiously affiliated non-public schools and their students. For this purpose, it is unnecessary to engage in a full discussion of the different approaches to the Establishment Clause by undertaking what could be ...

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