Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Monday, November 15, 1999


AUSTIN - On March 26, Attorney General Cornyn and Governor Bush filed a friend of the court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court asking the Court to hear the case of Santa Fe Independent School District vs. Jane Doe (99-62). Today, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

Statement from Texas Attorney General John Cornyn:

"I am pleased that the court has decided to address the important issue of whether students have a right to engage in voluntary student-led prayer at school sporting events. In deciding this case, I am optimistic that the court will protect the 1st Amendment rights of students.

"Today's decision to hear the Santa Fe case is an important first step in reversing the lower court. The 5th Circuit's decision cast a cloud over the student's right to engage in voluntary prayer at football games."

On February 26, 1999, the Fifth Circuit held that schools could allow students to deliver prayers at graduation as long as they are nonsectarian and nonproselytizing and that even student-initiated prayers are never permissible at school-sponsored football games.

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Contact Ted Delisi, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050