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Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 22 Ill.530 U.S. 290, 120 S. Ct. 2266, 147 L. Ed. 2d 295 (2000)

Brief Fact Summary. The Respondents, Doe and others (Respondents), brought suit to enjoin student-lead prayers at football games, as a violation of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution (Constitution).

Synopsis of Rule of Law. School prayer is necessarily a violation of the Establishment Clause when it is conducted in a manner that subjects students to it who do not wish to participate.


Facts. The Respondents began their action in 1995, when they moved for a temporary restraining order, preventing the Petitioner, the Santa Fe Independent School District (Petitioner), from violating the Establishment Clause due to its allowance of school prayer. The District Court held that the school’s action in allowing prayer could not coerce other students into participation. The Court of Appeals agreed with Respondents’ contentions that the allowance of prayers violated the Establishment Clause. The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) granted writs.

Issue. In allowing certiorari, the Supreme Court limited its inquiry to whether student-led and initiated prayer was a violation of the Establishment Clause.

Content Type: Brief


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