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In Board of Education of Westside Community Schools v. Mergens (1990), the U.S. Supreme Court held that, on its face, the Equal Access Act does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Accordingly, the Court ruled that the school board had to allow and support student-sponsored religious clubs to the same degree as they assisted nonreligious student activities. In sum, Mergens stands out as an important decision insofar as it placed noncurricular student clubs on the same footing as other student-organized groups.

Facts of the Case

In Mergens, school board officials in Nebraska granted just about the same use of school facilities to a religious club as they did to other student organizations. However, the officials did not grant the religious club all of the ...

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