Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies


Brian MacDonald


The debate over how to address the origins of life in American schools has been ongoing for almost a century. Proponents of creationism and intelligent design have used several different strategies in order to make sure their views are taught, and each time they have been struck down by the Supreme Court. This paper will analyze the three distinct forms the debate has taken, from attempts to ban outright the teaching of evolution, to the teaching of some form of creation-science alongside evolution, to attempts to “disclaim” evolution as it is taught. In its decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court has used different tests to decide whether or not the actions of creationist school boards and teachers violates the Establishment Clause. The Lemon Test and the Endorsement Test are analyzed in this paper, and any analysis of religious “purpose” is soundly rejected in favour of a thorough analysis of religious “effects” as the best method of determining whether a constitutional violation has occurred.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.