Supreme Court Cases;
A Focus on the 1st Amendment
Wallace v. Jaffree 1985
 Ruled the Alabama moment of silence law as
Reynolds v. U.S. 1879
 Prevented Mormons from practicing
polygamy because it “subverted good order”
Epperson v Arkansas 1968
 Arkansas law forbidding the teaching of
evolution was unconstitutional
Wolman v Walter 1977
 Use of public money to buy textbooks for
private school students is allowed but not to
use for religious-based activities
Minersville v Gobitis
 The courts INITIAL decision that allowed
students to be forced to say the pledge
Lemon v Kurtzman 1971
 Established the three part “Lemon Test” to
determine if a government action is too
entangling with religion
Zorach v Clauson
 Releasing public school students early to
attend religious classes at a church is
permissible under the law
Engle v Vitale 1962
 Struck down school prayer created by the
board of education; (most commonly
referred to “when they took prayer out of
Lynch v Donnelly
 Ruled that it was legal to display the nativity
scene on government property as long as
other characters were displayed with
it..(Rudolph, Santa..)
West Virginia Bd of Ed v. Barnette 1943
 Court ruled that a school CAN’T make a
student say the pledge
Abington v Schemp 1963
 Court prevented schools from starting the
day with Bible readings and repeating the
Lord’s Prayer
Sante Fe Independent School Dist. V Doe 2000
 Allowing a student to pray over the PA
system before a football is a violation of the
Edwards v Aguillard 1987
 Struck down a Louisiana law requiring
creation to be taught along evolution
County of Allegheney v ACLU 1989
 A nativity scene inside a government building
with a banner reading “Glory to God In the
Highest” was ruled as unconstitutional
Tinker v DesMoines 1969
 Students wearing black armbands as
symbolic speech to protest the Vietnam War
was allowable
Chaplinsky v New Hampshire 1942
 The use of “fighting words” is not protected
Hustler Magazine v Falwell 1988
 Court allows criticism of public figures, such
as a TV minister, more so than private
Hazelwood School District v Kuhlmeier 1988
 School authorities have authority to limit speech in
school setting as it relates to what is published in a
school newspaper
Bethel School District v Fraser 1986
 School authorities can limit student speech
regarding speaking at an assembly
Scheneck v United States 1919
 The protesters of WW I incited unlawful
resistance to the government’s ability to draft
men into war and created a “clear and
present danger”; these actions were not
considered as free speech by the court
United States v O’Brien 1968
 Burning a draft card in protest of the
Vietnam War is not free speech
United States v Eichman 1990
 Court struck down the Federal Flag
Protection Act; said burning a U.S. flag was
“expressive speech”
Miller v California 1973
 Established a test for determining if a book,
move, TV program, etc… is obscene
Everson v Board of Education of New Jersey 1947
 Law allows parents of private school students
to be reimbursed for the cost of sending their
students to private schools on public
McCollum v Board of Education 1948
 Privately paid teachers cannot hold religious
classes in a public school