taken to the Supreme Court
over whether a school district
can have a policy
that allow students
to lead the crowd
at a high school athletic event
in a prayer
, especially using the schools' public address
It's based on the tradition in Texas of having public prayer at football games, which has recently come under fire.
On June 19, 2000, the US Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that it was unconstitutional for the district to have such a policy.
Justice John Paul Stevens stated, "School sponsorship of a religious message is impermissible because it sends the ancillary message to members of the audience who are nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community.
"The delivery of such a message -- over the school's public address system by a speaker representing the student body, under the supervision of school faculty and pursuant to a school policy that explicitly and implicitly encourages public prayer -- is not property characterized as private speech."
Joining Justice Stevens for the majority were Justices O'Connor, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer. In dissent were Chief Justice
Rehnquist, and Justices Scalia and Thomas.