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Excessive Entanglement: A Wavering First Amendment Standard

Paul J. Weber
The Review of Politics
Vol. 46, No. 4 (Oct., 1984), pp. 483-501
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1406690
Page Count: 19
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Excessive Entanglement: A Wavering First Amendment Standard
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Abstract

The excessive entanglement standard is part of the Supreme Court's three-pronged test for determining the constitutional validity of government aid to religion. This article challenges in turn the validity of that standard and its two components, namely the criteria of administrative entanglement and political divisiveness. The administrative entanglement criterion is flawed because it violates the principle of equality. The political divisiveness standard, on the other hand, not only misreads the intention of the Founding Fathers but also ignores the value of religious conflict in a democracy and the strategy for handling such conflict proposed by James Madison.

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