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99-2036 Good News Club v. Milford Central School

Minnesota Lawyer//June 18, 2001

99-2036 Good News Club v. Milford Central School

Minnesota Lawyer//June 18, 2001

“What matters for purposes of the Free Speech Clause is that we can see no logical difference in kind between the invocation of Christianity by the Club and the invocation of teamwork, loyalty, or patriotism by other associations to provide a foundation for their lessons. It is apparent that the unstated principle of the Court of Appeals’ reasoning is its conclusion that any time religious instruction and prayer are used to discuss morals and character, the discussion is simply not a ‘pure’ discussion of those issues. According to the Court of Appeals, reliance on Christian principles taints moral and character instruction in a way that other foundations for thought or viewpoints do not. We, however, have never reached such a conclusion. Instead, we reaffirm our holdings in [Lamb’s Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School Dist., 508 U.S. 384 (1993)] and [Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of Univ. of Va., 515 U.S. 819 (1995)] that speech discussing otherwise permissible subjects cannot be excluded from a limited public forum on the ground that the subject is discussed from a religious viewpoint. Thus, we conclude that Milford’s exclusion of the Club from use of the school, pursuant to its community use policy, constitutes impermissible viewpoint discrimination.”

Reversed and remanded.

Local Effect:

Neither the Seventh Circuit nor the Wisconsin Supreme Court have considered viewpoint discrimination against religious clubs meeting in schools since the 1993 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Lamb’s Chapel.

Thomas, J.; Scalia, J., concurring; Breyer, J., concurring in part; Stevens, J., dissenting; Souter, J., dissenting.

Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 202 F.3d 502.

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