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Prayer as a long-standing tradition in many public school graduation ceremonies came under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court in Lee v. Weisman (1992). The Court ruled that having the school principal select a clergyman to deliver a prayer at graduation violated the Establishment Clause's prohibition against state involvement in establishing religion.

Facts of the Case

A public middle school in Lee had a practice of selecting clergy to deliver a graduation invocation and benediction graduation. Clergy who were interested in participating in graduation ceremonies had only to contact the middle school principal who was in charge of graduation. The principal in Lee selected a rabbi to deliver the prayers, provided him with a pamphlet containing guidelines for the composition of public prayers at civic ceremonies, and ...

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