Wallace v. Jaffree case brief summary
472 U.S. 38 (1985)
Appellants challenged the ruling of the
United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit which
reversed a lower court holding that Ala. Code § 16-1-20.1 did
not violate theEstablishment Clause of the U.S.
Constitutional Amendment I.
CASE FACTS Appellee, a resident of Mobile County,
Alabama, filed suit against the appellant governor, school board and
other public officials, seeking an injunction restraining appellants
from maintaining or allowing regular prayer services in the public
schools. Appellee alleged that his two children were subjected to
various acts of religious indoctrination during the school year and
appellants refused to stop the services. The action was later
certified as a class action. At trial, appellants relied on three
statutes enacted to allow voluntary prayer in the schools. The
district court dismissed appellees' claim, concluding that
the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitutional
Amendment I did not bar the states from establishing a religion.
The appeals court reversed.
DISCUSSION The U.S. Supreme
Court affirmed the ruling because the statute intended to convey a
message of state approval of prayer in the public schools, and
was clearly violative of the U.S. Constitutional Amendment
The Court affirmed the appeals court judgment; since the statute
was intended to convey a message of state approval of prayer in the
public schools, it was clearly violative of the U.S.
Constitutional Amendment I. Suggested law school course materials, hornbooks, and guides for Constitutional Law
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