Award Date

Spring 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

Advisor 1

Gerald C. Kops, Committee Chair

First Committee Member

Paul Meacham

Second Committee Member

Patrick Carlton

Graduate Faculty Representative

Porter Troutman

Number of Pages



Scholarship programs authored by state legislatures may conflict with a state's constitution. In the case of Locke v. Davey 540 U.S. 807 (2003), Joshua Davey challenged the State of Washington's withdrawal of his Promise Scholarship claiming violation of his First Amendment rights under the United States Constitution.

This study is a historical case study analyzing the Supreme Court jurisprudence regarding legal issues concerning the issuance of state funded scholarships for the purpose of religious studies. A complete legal study was conducted that included a review of all relevant court cases, court filings, legal journals and legal briefs.

A micro legal analysis was implemented using the judicial decision making template established by Judge Benjamin N. Cardozo in his text The Nature of the Judicial Process (reprinted 2003). Cardozo had described a general process for judicial decision making. This process was examined and applied to Chief Justice Rehnquist's decision in the Locke v. Davey case.

A macro legal analysis was also implemented by using the text The Most Democratic Branch by legal scholar Jeffery Rosen (2006) to determine is the decision in Locke v. Davey supported or refuted Rosen's theory. The text provides an overview of Supreme Courts decisions throughout history and presents the theory that the Supreme Court makes legal decision based on public sentiment in addition to applying the law.

Synthesizing this information provided a refined understanding of the implications of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The result will better define how the ruling on the Locke v. Davey case will have an impact on federal and state funded scholarship programs.

The micro analysis of the decision found that Justice Rehquist utilized the teachings and decision making template developed by Judge Cardozo. The macro legal analysis found that the decision in Locke v. Davey could be supported by Jeffery Rosen's theory depending on how one views the decision. An analysis of these decisions and their impacts are offered to state administrators of scholarships that are funded through public funds so that administrators may review and adjust their policies in accordance with the Locke v. Davey decision.


Case reveiws; Davey v. Locke; Establishment clause; Free exercise clause; Legal analyses; Nature of the judicial process; State funded scholarships; Supreme Court cases


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Educational Administration and Supervision | Education Policy | Law

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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