Minute of Silence Upheld
dsg at PRCHFE.ORG
Wed Nov 1 14:32:20 PST 2000
The decision distinguished Jaffree on the basis that the purpose of
encouraging prayer was included in the legislative record. By contrast, the
record in this case was very carefully crafted to articulate exclusively
secular justifications for the moment of silence - including, interestingly,
the goal of not obstructing the free exercise rights of students.
While I approve of the Free Exercise argument in principle, I am not sure
the opinion works because I don't think you can ever avoid the implicit
assumption that a moment of silence equates with a call to silent prayer.
Moreover, the opinion invites legislators to craft the records carefully to
hide any religious intent they may have.
It does seem to me to violate Jaffree.
David E. Guinn, JD, PhD
The Park Ridge Center
211 E. Ontario Street, Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 266-2222 ext. 244
email: deg at prchfe.org
web page: www.prchfe.org
From: R. Grunes [mailto:rgrunes at CENTENARY.EDU]
Sent: Wednesday, November 01, 2000 2:11 PM
To: RELIGIONLAW at listserv.ucla.edu
Subject: Re: Minute of Silence Upheld
But wasn't this kind of a "Moment of Silence" law struck down by the
U.S. Supreme Court in the 1985 Jaffree case?
Rodney A. Grunes
Will Esser wrote:
> "RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A new state law requiring public
> school students to observe a minute of silence does
> not violate the U.S. Constitution, a federal judge
> ruled Monday.
> Judge Claude M. Hilton of Alexandria rejected the
> American Civil Liberties Union's claim that the law is
> an unconstitutional attempt to reintroduce prayer in
> public schools."
> The rest of the story is available at
> The law only requires that students observe "one
> minute of silence for meditation, reflection, prayer
> or any other silent activity" at the beginning of the
> work day. It seems to me that a law like this might
> have very good secular reasons, i.e. calm down a bunch
> of rowdy kids who have just gotten off the buses,
> thereby making the teacher's job somewhat easier.
> Will Esser --- Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
> Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein
> Three First Union Center
> 401 South Tryon St., Suite 3000
> Charlotte NC 28202
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