Madalyn Murray (O'Hair) Appeals to Supreme Court Over Bible Reading in Schools

Madalyn Murray (O'Hair) Appeals to Supreme Court Over Bible Reading in Schools

Madalyn Murray O'Hair, 1983
Source: Wikipedia

Madalyn Murray (later O'Hair) appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court in her case to force the end of required Bible readings and recitations of the Lord's Prayer in public schools.

The case is Murray v. Curlett, and it is combined with a similar case from Pennsylvania, Abington School District v. Schempp — this later case becomes the name by which the decision is known.

In June 1963, the Supreme Court rules 8-1 that required Bible reading and prayer in public schools is unconstitutional.

Justice Tom C. Clark writes in his majority opinion:

"...what are the purpose and primary effect of the enactment. If either is the advancement or inhibition of religion then the enactment exceeds the scope of legislative power as circumscribed by the Constitution.

That is to say that to withstand the structures of the Establishment Clause there must be a secular legislative purpose and a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion."

Read More: Abington School District v. Schempp


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