Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School Dist., 508 U.S. 384, 16 (1993)

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Cite as: 508 U. S. 384 (1993)

Scalia, J., concurring in judgment

134-135 (1977) (White, J., dissenting); Roemer v. Board of Pub. Works of Md., 426 U. S. 736, 768 (1976) (White, J., concurring in judgment); Committee for Public Ed. & Religious Liberty v. Nyquist, 413 U. S. 756, 820 (1973) (White, J., dissenting).

The secret of the Lemon test's survival, I think, is that it is so easy to kill. It is there to scare us (and our audience) when we wish it to do so, but we can command it to return to the tomb at will. See, e. g., Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U. S. 668, 679 (1984) (noting instances in which Court has not applied Lemon test). When we wish to strike down a practice it forbids, we invoke it, see, e. g., Aguilar v. Felton, 473 U. S. 402 (1985) (striking down state remedial education program administered in part in parochial schools); when we wish to uphold a practice it forbids, we ignore it entirely, see Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U. S. 783 (1983) (upholding state legislative chaplains). Sometimes, we take a middle course, calling its three prongs "no more than helpful sign-posts," Hunt v. McNair, 413 U. S. 734, 741 (1973). Such a docile and useful monster is worth keeping around, at least in a somnolent state; one never knows when one might need him.

For my part, I agree with the long list of constitutional scholars who have criticized Lemon and bemoaned the strange Establishment Clause geometry of crooked lines and wavering shapes its intermittent use has produced. See, e. g., Choper, The Establishment Clause and Aid to Parochial Schools—An Update, 75 Calif. L. Rev. 5 (1987); Marshall, "We Know It When We See It": The Supreme Court and Establishment, 59 S. Cal. L. Rev. 495 (1986); McConnell, Accommodation of Religion, 1985 S. Ct. Rev. 1; Kurland, The Religion Clauses and the Burger Court, 34 Cath. U. L. Rev. 1 (1984); R. Cord, Separation of Church and State (1982); Choper, The Religion Clauses of the First Amendment: Reconciling the Conflict, 41 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 673 (1980). I will decline to apply Lemon—whether it vali-


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