- Legal News Updates
- Law Center
- Legal Business
- Court News Center
- Law Firm News
- Legal Interviews
- Headline News
- Political and Legal
- Practice Focuses
- Legal Spotlight
- Events & Seminars
- Legal Marketing
- Court Watch
- Immigration Law
- Media Center
- Justice Stories
- Supreme Court blocks some redrawn North Carolina districts
- Court allows Pennsylvania to redraw GOP-favored district map
- Court rules that Kushner firm must disclose partners' names
- Court rules Puigdemont must return to Spain for re-election
- Analysis: Outside groups may factor in Arkansas court race
- Pennsylvania GOP take gerrymandering case to US high court
- Top Pakistani court orders arrest of escaped police officer
- Malaysia's top court annuls unilateral conversions of minors
- Officials ask court to send Kennedy cousin back to prison
- Travel ban is headed back to a federal appeals court in Virginia
"Distribution of Bibles is a religious activity without a secular purpose" and amounts to school board promotion of Christianity, U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier ruled. That violates the First Amendment's separation of church and state, he wrote.
As requested by both sides, Barbier made a summary judgment based only on the written briefs — something judges may do only if the law is absolutely clear.
But attorney Christopher M. Moody said he thinks the Tangipahoa Parish School Board is likely to ask the 5th U.S. Court of Appeal to overturn Barbier's decision, though he hadn't yet consulted with the board. "We think there's a very good chance" of a reversal, he said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana filed the suit for an anonymous family whose daughter said she felt pressured into taking a Bible even though she doesn't believe in God. The girl was called Jane Roe and her father John Roe out of fear of retaliation by schoolmates and neighbors, the ACLU has said.
"Jane Roe states that she accepted the Bible because if she did not, her classmates would have 'picked on' her," Barbier wrote. "She feared they would call her 'devil worshipper.'"
Marjorie R. Esman, executive director of the ACLU chapter, said, "A child shouldn't have to choose between her family's beliefs and the wishes of school administrators."
Jane Roe was a fifth-grader at Loranger Middle School when The Gideons International visited on May 9, 2007. Principal Andre Pellerin notified fifth-grade teachers that the group would be on campus all day, giving away Bibles outside his office.
His e-mail said, "Please stress to students that they DO NOT have to get a bible," according to Barbier.
However, the judge wrote, even procedures upheld as neutral for secondary school students might be out of bounds for "an impressionable young elementary-age child."
He cited a ruling that upheld a West Virginia county's system of putting both religious and nonreligious material on a secondary school table where school students could walk past it. Grade-school children might not understand that the school board was not endorsing any of the materials, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal said in that case.
At Loranger, the table outside the principal's office also created the impression that the school was endorsing Christianity, Barbier wrote.
Legal News Media
Legal News Organization press is the top headline legal news provider for lawyers and legalprofessionals. Read law articles and breaking news from law firm's across the United States to get the latest updates. The content contained on the web site has been prepared by Legal News Media as a service to the internet
community and is not intended to constitute legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case or circumstance.