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2nd Semester Constitutional History Notes 14.docx

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LAWS 2180
Alan Rogers

Engel v. Vitale (1962): • New York public schools had a specific prayer they must read every morning. It was nondenominational and didn’t discriminate between religions. • Engel: family that objected to the prayer.Argued the state has no constitutional right to make a prayer that must be said every day. • State argued the prayer was a practice, not a belief. The state could constitutionally regulate the practice, so the prayer, particularly in schools. • Precedent: Everson v. board of education (1947). Subsidizing bus transportation does not discriminate and is beneficial to all the kids who get to school. • State argues that prayer brings morality and character, it is beneficial to the children and is not designed to alter their beliefs. • Engel argues that it is a violation of the establishment clause because the state wrote the prayer and required it to be read. • Court agrees that the state has no business writing a mandatory prayer. Muchollum v. Board of Education (1944) • Clergymen allowed in public schools and spoke about their beliefs • Court found it unconstitutional because it violated establishment clause Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) • Rhode Island and Pennsylvania: legislation provided textbooks to religious schools, and (the issue) subsidized the salaries of religious teachers. • Aimed at lifting the level of religious schools • States argued Everson: good for the kids and not directly going to the schools. •
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