Monday, June 25, 2012

On June 25

On this day in...
... 1962 (50 years ago today), issuing its judgment in Engel v. Vitale, a 6-member majority of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against state officials, first, for composing the following prayer:
'Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.'
and second, for urging that it be recited in the public schools. Both violated the 1st Amendment's Establishment Clause, stated the opinion for the Court by Justice Hugo Black. (credit for photo captioned "Happy members of the group that challenged New York's daily prayer in Engel v Vitale.") Two Justices did not take part; Justice Potter Stewart dissented, reasoning that saying what he called "this brief nondenominational prayer" was not equivalent to what he understood the Clause to prohibit; that is, setting up an "'official religion.'"

(Prior June 25 posts are here, here, here, here, and here.)

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