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The Papers of Justice Tom C. Clark

DesegregationSchool PrayerFourth AmendmentFifth AmendmentVoting RightsCommunismMexican American Civil Rights

Abington v. Schempp (1963)

School Prayer - Abington v. Schempp, 1963

Page from the Bible

Selected Case Files

Docket Sheet

Bench Memorandum

Draft opinion by Justice Clark

Clerk's note to Justice Clark regarding votes needed to form majority

Third version of Justice Clark's draft opinion



The Abington case originated as a challenge to a Pennsylvania law requiring public schools to open classes each day with readings from the Bible. The Schempp family objected to this practice as a violation of their freedom of religion as protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court agreed with the Schempp family and declared the Pennsylvania law unconstitutional. This issue has continued to be controversial, as many school districts have substituted a “moment of silence” in place of a requirement to recite prayers.

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