Supreme Court Reaffirms Separation of Church and State in School Prayer Case
The Supreme Court today ruled against
student-led prayers at high school football
games, reaffirming earlier decisions against
"officially sponsored prayer in public schools."
The decision declared unconstitutional a
Santa Fe public school district's policy to
elect students to lead prayer before home
high school football games. The 6-3 majority
opinion was written by Justice John Paul
Stevens, who noted that, despite the school
district's argument that the prayers were
student-led and voluntary, "the delivery of a
pre-game prayer has the improper effect of
coercing those present to participate in an act
of religious worship." Chief Justice Rehnquist
wrote a dissenting opinion, which was signed
by Justices Scalia and Thomas.
The New York Times reported today on
some important aspects of the case, which
was initiated by a Roman Catholic and a
Mormon family. For example, while the
school district argued that the prayers were
"private speech," and did not violate the
separation of Church and state; the Supreme
Court held that "the realities of the situation
plainly reveal that its policy involves both
perceived and actual endorsement of
religion." In a related case, the Court let stand
a ban on a Louisiana school board policy
requiring teachers to preface the teaching of
evolution with a disclaimer that the theory was
"not intended to influence or dissuade the
biblical version of creation or any other
concept." Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas also
dissented from that decision. .
Media Resources: The New York Times- 20 June 2000 and Washington
8/3/2015 The Senate is Voting on Planned Parenthood Funding Today - A Senate bill to defund Planned Parenthood is expected to come to a vote today.
Sponsored by Republican Senator Joni Ernst (IA), Senate Bill 1881 would prohibit all Federal funding of Planned Parenthood or "any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, or clinics." The Senate will need 60 votes to advance the bill, which is being proposed following the release of highly edited video footage by anti-abortion group the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).
The CMP's misleading videos claim that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue. . . .