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Widmar v. Vincent (1981) was the first Supreme Court decision to grant free speech protection to religious expression at an educational institution. In Widmar, the Court recognized that the Free Speech Clause provided a new and powerful counterweight to the Establishment Clause, requiring analysis of speech content. Widmar put public universities on notice that if they wanted to open their campuses to student expression but close them to religious expression, they must do so according to the requirements of the Free Speech Clause. This entry looks at the case, the ruling, and its impact.

Facts of the Case

In Widmar, a university-recognized student religious group (Cornerstone) challenged the University of Missouri at Kansas City's (UMKC) refusal to permit the organization to meet on university premises. For 4 ...

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