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Prepare a legal brief on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Santa Fe Independent School Dist. v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290 (2000) - Essay Example

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Summary
In the region of Santa Fe, Texas, pupils were elected through votes by their classmates to conduct prayers before a football game takes place at all the football games in which the high school was participating and these prayers were to be conducted at the public address system…
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Prepare a legal brief on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Santa Fe Independent School Dist. v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290 (2000)
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Case Brief Case Brief Facts In the region of Santa Fe, Texas, pupils were elected through votes by their mates to conduct prayers before a football game takes place at all the football games in which the high school was participating and these prayers were to be conducted at the public address system. A certain number of students were against this and they launched a suit stating that such practices were in violation of the Establishment Clause and these prayers were equal to support of religion. This claim made by the student was countered by the district and the district stated that these prayers were very old fashioned and were taking place for several years in the communities of Texas. They even argued that since these prayers were conducted by the students themselves, these prayers were not anything more than a speech conducted by a student and by no means was a speech that was sponsored by the state itself.
Issue
The issue that was under trial in this case was to figure out whether prayers that were conducted before sport games were in violation of the Establishment Clause.
Rule:
This case was a 6 -3 decision in which the court decided that the prayers conducted by students before commencement of football games taking place at a public address system gives an image that the state government is trying to endorse religious activities and due to this such activities were found to be in violation of the Establishment Clause1.
Analysis:
The district had failed to persuade the court into believing that prayers conducted before high school level football games were a private matter of the students. These prayers and their content were regulated, administered and monitored by the school and due to this; these prayers were considered as if the government preferred such speeches and prayers which are religious in nature. Secondly, according to the historical background of practices that were religious in nature and were conducted in the district of schools, the policy that was undertaken by the district to elect students seemed to be created to preserve the performance of prayers taking place before the games were held. The court even figured out that the method that was used to elect the prayer participants and to determine whether a particular message should be conveyed or not intensified the issue of violation of Establishment Clause because these voting resulted in rivalry between different individuals who were following different religions. Fourthly, the way the speaker was elected even reflected that prayers of those who were in the majority would take place. Due to all these factors, the court established that such practices were not only perceived to be endorsed by the state, but were actually state endorsed and were not constitutional.
Conclusion:
In the case of Santa Fe Independent School District vs. Doe the court held that it was unconstitutional to conduct pre-football game prayers as these prayers were in violation of the Establishment Clause and were endorsed by the state itself.
References
11 Scott A. Merriman, Religion and the Law in America: An Encyclopedia of Personal Belief and Public Policy 454 (2007).
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