Alabama V. Jaffree ( 1985 )

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Wallace, Governor of Alabama v. Jaffree (1985): Central Question: Does the Alabama statute 16-1-20.1, allowing a period of silence for meditation or voluntary prayer violate the First Amendment Establishment Clause that is applied to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment? Facts of the Case: The case of Wallace v. Jaffree calls into question the constitutionality of an Alabama statute that authorized teachers to lead a one-minute period of silence for “meditation or voluntary” prayer in all public schools. Ishmael Jaffree, the parent of three students in the Mobile County Public School system filed a complaint that two of his three children had been “subjected to various acts of religious indoctrination,” as a result of Alabama statute 16-1-20.1 and asked for an injunction prohibiting Mobile County schools from “maintaining or allowing the maintenance of regular religious prayer services.” The purpose of Jaffree’s complaint was to prohibit the devotional services occurring in his children’s school and the consequent mockery of his children that occurred when they refused to recite the prayers to “Almighty God” (Stevens, 40). This type of law in Alabama public schools was not the first of its kind. Prior to statute 6-11-20.1, Alabama passed law 16-1-20 authorizing one minute of silence in public schools for meditation. After the authorization of statute 16-1-20.1 came 16-1-20.2, which allowed teachers to lead “willing students” in a prayer (Stevens, 40). Opinion of the
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