Forty-Fourth General Assembly, 377 U. Rector and Visitors of Univ. The district court held that the prayers were coercive, Pet. With him on the briefs were Colby M. It may seem odd to think of high school students as exercising governmental power, but that is only because it is odd for them to be delegated such power.
The policy involves both perceived and actual endorsement of religion, see Lee, 505 U. Both policies provide that the election is to be conducted once a year, in the spring, so that the student elected serves for the entire football season. But this is far from such a case. Under the Court's view, the mere grant of power to the students to vote for such offices, in light of the fear that those elected might publicly pray, violates the Establishment Clause. The Court of Appeals held that, even as modified by the District Court, the football prayer policy was invalid. This delegatee has no right to speak except as Santa Fe has granted a right to speak.
As discussed above, the policys text and the circumstances surrounding its enactment reveal that it has such a purpose. None of these constitutional defects depend on whether the elected student eventually delivers a prayer; the school board first violated the Constitution when it endorsed prayer. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group, 515 U. There was uncontradicted evidence of verbal harassment of students who declined to accept Bibles or objected to prayers and religious observances in school. There has not been an election under the policy at issue here, which expressly allows the student speaker to give a message as opposed to an invocation. Plaintiffs do not rely on the mere fact that Santa Fe owns the stadium and public address system.
Regardless of the listener's support for, or objection to, the message, an objective Santa Fe High School student will unquestionably perceive the inevitable pregame prayer as stamped with her school's seal of approval. The crowd will certainly include many who display the school colors and insignia on their school T-shirts, jackets, or hats and who may also be waving signs displaying the school name. Thus, it concludes, the October policy necessarily survives a facial challenge. The mechanism encourages divisiveness along religious lines in a public school setting, a result at odds with the Establishment Clause. In addition to involving the school in the selection of the speaker, the policy, by its terms, invites and encourages religious messages.
Argued March 29, 2000-Decided June 19,2000 Prior to 1995, a student elected as Santa Fe High School's student council chaplain delivered a prayer over the public address system before each home varsity football game. Once the student speaker is selected and the message composed, the invocation is then delivered to a large audience assembled as part of a regularly scheduled, school-sponsored function conducted on school property. If Santa Fe's Theory Were Accepted, It Would Logically Extend To All School Activities And All Forms Of Prayer, Including In The Classroom The logic of Santa Fe's position has nothing to do with football. Santa Fe's repeated pre-trial amendments to its policy, and its willingness to litigate the issue all the way to this Court, do not reflect an intense desire to be surprised by whatever unexpected message a student might deliver. In his decision, Judge of the ordered the school to eliminate all denominational activity in the classroom. Santa Fe's control over pre-game ceremonies is as complete legally as it is factually.
It is also possible that the election would not focus on prayer, but on public speaking ability or social popularity. This official policy was challenged by two mothers of students in the school district, one Mormon and one Catholic. The issue resolved in the first election was whether a student would deliver prayer at varsity football games, and the controversy in this case demonstrates that the students' views are not unanimous on that issue. And it granted this narrow liberty only after so arranging matters that it could confidently expect the students to deliver Christian prayers. Like the student referendum for funding in Southworth, this student election does nothing to protect minority views but rather places the students who hold such views at the mercy of the majority. Lord, bless this ceremony and give us all a safe journey home. If, upon implementation, the policy operated in this fashion, we would have a record before us to review whether the policy, as applied, violated the Establishment Clause or unduly suppressed minority viewpoints.
We granted the school district's petition for certiorari to review that holding. Weisman, 1992 , to support its conclusion. Eads, Deputy Attorney General, Gregory S. We have carefully explored the many reasons why the prayers, and the decision to encourage prayer, are attributable to the school. Of course, not all student elections exercise power delegated by the school board, and most things students get to vote on pose few or no constitutional issues. The federal district court agreed on the condition that the prayers did not promote any particular religion.
There were also multiple grantees, selected on nondiscriminatory criteria, in Bowen v. Neither the delegation nor the referendum serves any of the purposes of the First Amendment's distinction between government religious speech and private religious speech. The lawsuit alleged various violations of the and asked for an injunction to prevent prayers from being offered at the graduation ceremony. . Rehnquist also observed that the Court should not rule on a policy that had not gone into effect, in accordance with the ripeness doctrine. Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for the American Jewish Congress et al. Our discussion in the previous sections, supra, at 307-310, demonstrates that in this case the District's direct involvement with school prayer exceeds constitutional limits.
The first part of this argument-that there is no impermissible government coercion because the pregame messages are the product of student choices-fails for the reasons discussed above explaining why the mechanism of the dual elections and student speaker do not turn public speech into private speech. It is an issue that has been going on for many years and during those years this issue has gained more and more traction. The District argues unpersuasively that these principles are inapplicable because the policys messages are private student speech, not public speech. Football games are such an event; Santa Fe organizes and wholly controls the program. The message is broadcast over the school's public address system, which remains subject to the control of school officials.
The District Court entered an order modifying that policy to permit only nonsectarian, nonproselytizing prayer. Fifth Circuit Law And The Judgments Below. Students should not have to choose between attending games, and avoiding a religious ritual for which they do not want to be a part. And unlike a graduating senior, who may conceivably leave at the end of the ceremony and never come back, one who visibly fails to pray at a football game has to keep going to school with those around him -- the next week, the next month, the next semester, possibly for as long as four more years. The students voted in favor of the prayer and they were given the right. If Santa Fe's position were adopted for football games, only the most arbitrary distinctions would prevent its being adopted for every other school event, including the classroom.