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In Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe (2000), its most recent case on the topic of school prayer as this encyclopedia heads to press, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the policy of a school board in a Texas district that allowed students to deliver a nonsectarian, nonproselytizing “invocation and/or message” (i.e., prayer) before varsity high school football games violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. In this landmark case regarding the legality of school prayer, the board contended that control of the pregame message was left to students who also chose the speaker and the content of the message by a majority vote. (Initially, the student who led the prayer, also noted in the policy as an “invocation,” was the chaplain of ...

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