Private motives in the public domain: Judicial doctrine and the Establishment Clause from 1947 to 2005

Date of Completion

January 2009


Political Science, General




Groups wishing to use the government to further their religious beliefs are constantly struggling to have their voices heard. Religious-based arguments are hotly contested not only for their substantive components, but more importantly, the methodology used as support. Is there a place for private motives in the public domain? Public opinion research has shown us that Americans are very unwilling to allow radical groups a voice in the public realm. Despite the abstract commitment to tolerance and pluralism, most Americans surveyed do not support applied tolerance. This research draws on sources across the disciplines of political science, political theory, and constitutional law. The result has been an innovative approach to toleration studies and an answer to the question: Should America permit private motives in the public domain? ^