On This Date in Legal History

On June 17, 1963, the United States Supreme Court decided School District of Abington Township, Pennsylvania v. Schempp. The case dealt with prayer in the public schools.  Under Pennsylvania law, at the beginning of each school day, at least ten verses were to be read from the bible, along with the Lord’s prayer. In an 8-1 decision, the United States Supreme Court found this “opening exercise…to be a religious ceremony.” As such, it violated the First Amendment, even though students were permitted to opt out.

Associate Justice Tom C. Clark served on the Supreme Court from Aug 24, 1949 to June 12, 1967

Associate Justice Tom C. Clark served on the Supreme Court from Aug 24, 1949 until June 12, 1967

Justice Clark, who authored the majority opinion, wrote– “The place of religion in our society is an exalted one, achieved through a long tradition of reliance on the home, the church and the inviolable citadel of the individual heart and mind. We have come to recognize through bitter experience that it is not within the power of government to invade that citadel, whether its purpose or effect be to aid or oppose, to advance or retard. In the relationship between man and religion, the State is firmly committed to a position of neutrality. Though the application of that rule requires interpretation of a delicate sort, the rule itself is clearly and concisely stated in the words of the First Amendment.”

About Tina Nelson
Tina Nelson

Tina Nelson is an attorney and mom. She created the LAWSUIT™ board game to teach her three children about the law. The game was an instant success. Copyrights and a patent were obtained, and Professional Games, Inc. was born. Professional Games, Inc. created this blog to educate and keep its friends and customers regularly updated about our American legal system.
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