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Santa Fe Independent School District v. Jane Doe

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by

Rebecca Bernardo

on 9 January 2015

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Transcript of Santa Fe Independent School District v. Jane Doe

Majority Opinion
*delivered by Justice John Paul Stevens
*6-3 vote in favor of Doe
*"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 properly characterized as 'private' speech." (John Paul)
-Prayers at football games are public speeches occurring on government property; therefore they violate the First Amendment in which there shall be no establishments of religion by the government.
Works Cited

First Amendment Schools. "First Amendment Schools: The Five
Freedoms - Court Case." First Amendment Schools: The Five Freedoms - Court Case. N.p., 2006. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

George Bush. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Dec. 2014.

George Bush with First Amendment. Digital image. Santa Fe,
Texas. Quazoo.com, n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2015.

Raskin, Jamin B. "The Wall of Separation Between Church and
School." We the Students: Supreme Court Cases for and about Students. Washington, D.C.: CQ, 2008. 94-99. Print.

"SANTA FE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DIST. v. DOE." SANTA FE
INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DIST. v. DOE. Legal Information Institute, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.

"SANTA FE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DIST. v. DOE." Santa Fe
Independent School Dist. v. Doe. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, 16 Dec. 2014. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.

Santa Fe Student Chaplain. Digital image. A Twist of Irony. An
AP US History Project, n.d. Web. 23 Dec. 2014.

"William Rehnquist Biography." Bio.com. A&E Networks
Television, 2014. Web. 22 Dec. 2014.

William Rehnquist. Digital image. Supreme Court Historical
Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Jan. 2015.

Impact of case
* This case established the principle that no schools can have student-led prayers that are given over the public address system.
* A prayer given by a student in public is not a "private" prayer, it is a public prayer.
*The case reinforced the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment in which endorsement of a religion by the government is unconstitutional.

Facts/ Issues
*Students had been elected by classmates in Santa Fe High School (Texas) to deliver a prayer over the speaker before every home football game. The prayers were described as extremely Christian and made some students uncomfortable.
*Two families sued the school (one Catholic and one Mormon), challenging this practice as an endorsement of religion; which therefore went against the Establishment Clause.
*As the suit was pending the school created (and encouraged) a new policy which allowed student- led prayers at home games.
*issue: religious freedom/ freedom of speech
*Does a pre-game student-led prayer, given over the loud speaker, violate the Establishment Clause?

Case winner
ruled in 6-3 in favor of Doe
prayers addressed by students at their high school football games were in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment
considered the prayers over the loud speaker to be public and reenforcing religion on government property; therefore violating the Constitution
Santa Fe Independent School District v. Jane Doe

Amendment
involved
* First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." (Constitution Amend. 1)
-The Establishment Clause forbids government from creating an official religion/ from favoring one specific religion.
Dissenting Opinion
delivered by Chief Justice
"The Court distorts existing precedent to conclude that the school district’s student-message program is invalid on its face under the Establishment Clause. But even more disturbing than its holding is the tone of the Court's opinion; it bristles with hostility to all things religious in public life. Neither the holding nor the tone of the opinion is faithful to the meaning of the Establishment Clause..." (William Rehnquist)
argued that prayers at football games were of private speech, not public speech and therefore did not violate the First Amendment
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
William H. Rehnquist
-received a Master's in government from Harvard University and a law degree from Stanford Law School
-took oath of office January 7, 1972
-nominated by Ronald Reagan to be the chief justice of the Supreme Court in 1986
-in the
United States v. Lopez
case of 1995 he ruled a federal act unconstitutional regarding carrying guns in school
-in impeachment trial of Bill Clinton he served as the presiding judge
-supported the Supreme Court decision to not recount votes in Florida for the 2000 election
Decided June 19, 2000
By, Rebecca Bernardo and Corryne Birchall
Going through the Federal Court System
1. The District Court favored student- led prayers at Santa Fe High School, saying that they were private speeches because they were by individual students.
2. The Court of Appeals went against the District Court's opinion, saying that the policy of football prayers was invalid.
3. The District Court asked for a writ of certiorari.
4. The Supreme Court decided that the school's policy was unconstitutional.
faculty.headroyce.org
www.quazoo.com
www.supremecourthistory.org
Full transcript