This Article inquires into whether the singular purpose of the Establishment Clause is to secure individual rights, as is conventionally believed, or whether its role is more properly understood as a structural restraint on governmental power. If the Clause is indeed structural in nature, then its task is to negate from the purview of civil governance all matters "respecting an establishment of religion." Conceptualizing the role of the Establishment Clause as either rights-securing or structural has profound consequences for the nation's constitutional settlement concerning the interrelationship of government and religion.
Carl H. Esbeck,
The Establishment Clause as a Structural Restraint on Governmental Power, 84 Iowa Law Review 1
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/facpubs/918