- Describe how you understand the “Establishment Clause” and the related “Lemon Test”.
The Establishment Clause prevents the creation of a state-sponsored or state-favored religion. The “Lemon Test” defines three criteria for determining if a law is constitutional with regards to the first amendment and establishment clause.
- Must not lead to “excessive government entanglement with religion”; so can’t require government and religion to become dependent on one another
- Cannot “inhibit or advance religious practice”
- Must be secular reason for law
Given all of the above, the Lemon test checks to see if a law is actually constitutional with regards to freedom of and also freedom from religion.
2. Is burning the US flag protected by the First Amendment? Explain by referring to the relevant court case discussed in the reading.
Burning the US flag is protected under the First Amendment; in 1989, the Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. Johnson that the burning of the flag is a form of protected speech. It is not violent speech, and can be considered a form of protest, which is protected under both the intent and letter of the First Amendment.
3. What does it mean when someone says “I’m taking the Fifth”?
When someone says “I’m pleading the Fifth,” they are referring to their right against self-incrimination, which is protected by the Fifth Amendment. This means that they have the right to remain silent when questioned and the right to not testify when accused of a crime, and this lack of testimony cannot be taken as admission of guilt.