EDarr1776 at AOL.COM
EDarr1776 at AOL.COM
Fri Aug 25 06:22:18 PDT 2000
In a message dated 8/24/00 3:05:10 PM Central Daylight Time,
sjamar at LAW.HOWARD.EDU writes:
<< But since that is what the law is, how can this action be
anything but illegal? It doesn't makes sense to me, but
there it is. >>
I think the decisions on prayer have been solid, but the Court's fumbling
around a bit for their reasoning. They need either a tough editor, or a good
public relations person.
Justice Jackson noted in Barnette that if nothing else, the First Amendment
means that no government official "high or petty" may say what is orthodox in
Assuming school officials to be government officials -- high or petty I'll
leave to another discussion -- the rules should be clear. I would summarize
them this way, in Darrell's rule: School officials may not say whether to
pray, when to pray, where to pray, how to pray, what to pray about or for, or
to whom or what to pray, or who should do the praying. When a school
official violates any of these rules, the Court will find a way to strike
down the action.
In Santa Fe the school officials conducted an election to determine whether
to pray, and a second election to select who should do the praying. They
designated the time of the prayers, the place of the prayers, and wrote
regulations about who or what would be an acceptable deity to pray to. As I
recall, the regulations also covered what was acceptable to pray for.
Religious chants at a game? No problem, so long as they aren't profane
(unless the school district doesn't act against profanity). Prayers before
class by a group of students? Clearly within the rules. A special place set
aside where prayers must be done if they are done at all? Clearly repugnant
to Justice Jackson's views.
I used to think the Court could have done better sometimes had they unleashed
Toni House to explain their opinions. With age I've come to think they might
do better to get a good writing coach, or debate coach, to help them express
But if they were more clear, this list would be a lot less active . . .
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