What is 'An Establishment of Religion?'

9 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2011 Last revised: 30 Dec 2014

See all articles by William W. Van Alstyne

William W. Van Alstyne

Duke University School of Law; William & Mary Law School

Date Written: 1987


This critical examination of the phrase “an establishment of religion” contained within the First Amendment uses an analysis to the exact language to draw out several possible interpretations, including: state established churches, the conventional understanding restricting any legislation dealing with religion, and the existence of religion in the actual operation of government.

Keywords: First Amendment, Establishment Clause, religion

Suggested Citation

Van Alstyne, William W. and Van Alstyne, William W., What is 'An Establishment of Religion?' (1987). North Carolina Law Review, Vol. 65, p. 909, 1987, William & Mary Law School Research Paper No. 09-142, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1931037

William W. Van Alstyne (Contact Author)

William & Mary Law School ( email )

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P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
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Durham, NC 27708
United States

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