Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


Lee v. Weisman marked a new turn in Establishment Clause jurisprudence. In Lee, the United States Supreme Court declared that prayers delivered as part of a public school graduation ceremony violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. In holding the prayers unconstitutional, the Court invented a new framework for analyzing Establishment Clause cases-the coercion test. By invoking the coercion test without clarifying the status of the test previously developed in Lemon v. Kurtzman, the Court has left the law in a state of confusion. This Comment does not discuss whether graduation prayers should be constitutional. Rather, it criticizes the Court's analysis as unsupported by precedent and unpersuasive in reason.