Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe

United States Supreme Court530 U.S. 290 (2000)

Facts

Prior to 1995, the student elected to be the campus chaplain at Santa Fe High School customarily gave an admittedly “Christian” prayer over the stadium loudspeaker at each of the school’s varsity football games. Doe (plaintiff) filed suit against the Santa Fe Independent School District (Santa Fe) (defendant) on the grounds that this policy of permitting prayer before football games violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. During litigation, Santa Fe changed its policy to permit but not require student-initiated prayer at all home games. The district court modified that policy to permit only nonsectarian, non-proselytizing prayer. The court of appeals held, however, that even as modified by the district court, the football prayer policy was unconstitutional. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

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