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August 15, 2005

Roberts and school prayer

Lock up your children:

As a young government attorney, John Roberts advised the White House to support congressional efforts to allow school prayer, arguing that a Supreme Court ruling striking down the practice “seems indefensible.”
In a Nov. 21, 1985, memo released Monday by the National Archives, Roberts was responding to a move by Congress to permit “group silent prayer or reflection in public schools.” He said in the memo that he would not object if Justice Department officials announced that President Reagan had no formal role in passing an amendment to that effect, but said he would support such a move.
The Supreme Court’s conclusion that “the Constitution prohibits such a moment of silent reflection — or even silent ‘prayer’ — seems indefensible,” Roberts wrote in a memo to White House counsel Fred Fielding.
… Earlier, in a June 4, 1985 memo, Roberts argued that White House officials could exploit the Supreme Court’s decision prohibiting school prayer. While justices struck down an Alabama statute mandating a one-minute moment of silence, “careful analysis shows” it was on technical grounds, he said.
Roberts said that a majority of justices would allow a similar law if it were worded more carefully to avoid expressing a religious purpose behind the measure.

In other words, whatever it takes to get religion into the classroom.

The memos were among almost 5,400 pages of documents released by the Ronald Reagan Library and National Archives today. Equally notable was what wasn’t released, including 478 pages that were withheld because of “security concerns,” and a folder containing “affirmative action correspondence” that wasn’t released because “librarians had misplaced it.”

If in doubt, always blame the librarians.

Posted by Stephen at 6:58 PM in Legal issues | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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