Jessica Ahlquist wins her lawsuit, hooray!

Congratulations, Jessica! This is a great win for church-state separation and student activism. Hemant Mehta has the full story is taking donations for a college scholarship fund for Jessica.

Jessica, I know you’ll continue to get a lot of crap from your classmates, but know you do have friends out there. And that high school doesn’t last forever (thank FSM). You’ve been an inspiration to us all.


  1. eigenperson says

    The slip opinion is worth reading.

    In the most persuasive argument, the court demonstrates how the presence of the mural caused an excessive entanglement between government and religion, as evidenced by the character of the meetings in which the banner was discussed.

    It made it pretty clear that regardless of any “secular purpose” that might exist, the presence of the banner was unconstitutional.

  2. says

    From the judge’s decision:

    “The touchstone for our analysis is the principle that the First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion. When the government acts with the ostensible and predominant purpose of advancing religion, it violates that central Establishment Clause value of official religious neutrality, there being no neutrality when the government’s ostensible object is to take sides.”

  3. eigenperson says

    That’s quoted from a previous Supreme Court decision (McCreary County vs. ACLU), but yeah, that’s good too.

  4. julian says

    Congrats to Ms. Ahlquist. Because of her work the world’s a little less overtly religious. Maybe secularism does have a shot.

  5. says

    I looked at reports of this story on websites of newspapers in TX hoping to find some good reader comments but maybe it’s too soon.

    The Houston Chronicle has a story with some history on the banner:

    The prayer was written by student David Bradley, now in his 60s, and encourages students to strive academically. It begins with the words “Our Heavenly Father” and ends with “Amen.”

    The Class of 1963 presented displays of the prayer and the school creed to the school in September 1963. The Class of 1963 was the first to graduate from the school.

    Engle v. Vitale was decided in 1962. So they’ve been in violation since the day they hung the damned thing. Rule of law, bitchez.

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