A busy day for Supreme Court yesterday: it released hundreds of decisions. Of course, almost all of those decisions were not to make decisions at all, letting lower courts' decisions stand. Three had to do with religion in schools.
The only case that the court made any comment on was Sally Campbell v. St. Tammany's School Board.
In June 1998, the Louisiana Christian Coalition attempted to use school facilities for a prayer meeting in which it would "worship the Lord in prayer and music … discuss family and political issues, pray about those issues, and seek to engage in religious and Biblical instruction with regard to those issues." But the district turned the request down, citing a policy banning nonstudent uses involving religious worship or religious instruction (though it said it did allow for religious discussion). A district court ruled for the Louisiana Christian Coalition, saying the policy was unconstitutionally vague because it's too hard to tell when discussion becomes instruction. In March 2000, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for the school district, saying the wording was "not even arguably vague," and that the district rightly discriminated "based on content, not viewpoint." The Supreme Court, however, disagreed. It vacated the judgment and sent it back to the 5th Circuit "for further consideration in light of Good News Club v. Milford Central School." In that case, decided last week, the Supreme Court said that when a New York school district denied an evangelistic club "access to the school's limited public forum on the ground that the club was religious in nature, it discriminated against the club because of its ...1
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