|McCollum v. Board of Education|
|Argued December 8, 1947|
Decided March 8, 1948
|Full case name||People of State of Illinois ex rel. Vashti McCollum v. Board of Education of School District № 71, Champaign County, Illinois, et al.|
|Citations||333 U.S. 203 ( more )|
|Prior||People ex rel. McCollum v. Bd. of Ed. of Sch. Dist. No. 71, 396 Ill. 14, 71 N.E.2d 161 (1947); probable jurisdiction noted, 67 S. Ct. 1524 (1947).|
|The use of public school facilities by religious organizations to give religious instruction to school children violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.|
|Majority||Black, joined by Vinson, Douglas, Murphy, Rutledge, Burton|
|Concurrence||Frankfurter, joined by Jackson, Rutledge, Burton|
|U.S. Const., Amends. I and XIV|
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McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203 (1948), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case related to the power of a state to use its tax-supported public school system to aid religious instruction. The case was a test of the separation of church and state with respect to education.
The case tested the principle of "released time", where public schools set aside class time for religious instruction. The Court struck down a Champaign, Illinois program as unconstitutional because of the public school system's involvement in the administration, organization and support of religious instruction classes. The Court noted that some 2,000 communities nationwide offered similar released time programs affecting 1.5 million students.
The case was brought by Vashti McCollum, the mother of a student enrolled in the Champaign public school district.
In 1940, interested members of various Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish faiths formed an association named the Champaign Council on Religious Education. This association obtained permission from the Champaign Board of Education to offer voluntary religious education classes for public school students from grades four to nine. These weekly 30- and 45-minute classes were led by clergy and lay members of the association in public school classrooms during school hours.
McCollum, an atheist, objected to the religious classes, stating that her son James was ostracized for not attending them. After complaints to school officials to stop offering these classes went unheeded, McCollum sued the school board in July 1945, stating that the religious instruction in the public schools violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment—the principle of separation of church and state in the United States. McCollum also complained that the school district's religious education classes violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The principal elements of the McCollum complaint were that:
In her suit, McCollum asked that the Board of Education be ordered to "adopt and enforce rules and regulations prohibiting all instruction in and teaching of all religious education in all public schools in Champaign District Number 71, and in all public school houses and buildings in said district when occupied by public schools".
The Circuit Court of Champaign County ruled in favor of the school district in January 1946, and upon appeal the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's ruling.
McCollum sought review from the U. S. Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case, taking oral arguments in December 1947. A number of religious groups including the American Unitarian Association, the Synagogue Council of America, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and the Baptist Joint Committee of Religious Liberty filed briefs in support of McCollum's position.
On March 8, 1948, the Court ruled 8-1 in favor of McCollum, ruling that the classes were unconstitutional.
In the majority opinion, written by Justice Hugo Black, the Court held that
[The facts] show the use of tax-supported property for religious instruction and the close cooperation between the school authorities and the religious council in promoting religious education. The operation of the state's compulsory education system thus assists and is integrated with the program of religious instruction carried on by separate religious sects. Pupils compelled by law to go to school for secular education are released ... in part from their legal duty upon the condition that they attend the religious classes.
To hold that a state cannot, consistently with the First and Fourteenth Amendments, utilize its public school system to aid any or all religious faiths or sects in the dissemination of their doctrines and ideals does not ... manifest a governmental hostility to religion or religious teachings. ... For the First Amendment rests upon the premise that both religion and government can best work to achieve their lofty aims if each is left free from the other within its respective sphere.
The lone dissenting justice, Stanley Forman Reed, objected to the breadth of the majority's interpretation of the Establishment Clause and stated that an incidental support of religion should have been permissible with a more narrow reading of the First Amendment.
The Supreme Court's ruling remanded the case to the Illinois high court for relief consistent with the federal ruling.
The high court revisited the issue of religious instruction in Zorach v. Clauson in 1952. The 6 to 3 ruling in the later case held that a New York program allowing religious education during the school day was permissible, because it did not use public school facilities or public funds.
Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court decided 8–1 in favor of the respondent, Edward Schempp legal responsible of his son Ellery Schempp, and declared school-sponsored Bible reading in public schools in the United States to be unconstitutional. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court during this case was Earl Warren.
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Jewish Released Time, also known as Sheloh, is an organization promoting released time for the Jewish education of Jewish children learning in public schools.
In the United States public school system, released time or release time is time set aside during school hours, typically an hour a day or a week, for students to receive off-campus private religious education.
McCollum is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:
Weekday Religious Education is a released-time Christian education program for public school students in the United States. The program is administered during school hours, but by law must be conducted outside school property. Weekday Religious Education classes are offered in school districts in several states, most of them rural.
Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306 (1952), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States considered a school district allowing students to leave school for part of the day to receive religious instruction.
Vashti Cromwell McCollum was the plaintiff in the landmark 1948 Supreme Court case McCollum v. Board of Education, which struck down religious education in public schools. The defendant in the case was the public school district of Champaign, Illinois; instructors chosen by three religious faiths had taught religion classes within the district's schools.
In the United States, freedom of religion is a constitutionally protected right provided in the religion clauses of the First Amendment. Freedom of religion is also closely associated with separation of church and state, a concept advocated by Colonial founders such as Dr. John Clarke, Roger Williams, William Penn and later Founding Fathers such as James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.
Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203 (1997), is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States. In this case, the Court overruled its decision in Aguilar v. Felton (1985), now finding that it was not a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment for a state-sponsored education initiative to allow public school teachers to instruct at religious schools, so long as the material was secular and neutral in nature and no "excessive entanglement" between government and religion was apparent. This case is noteworthy in a broader sense as a sign of evolving judicial standards surrounding the First Amendment, and the changes that have occurred in modern Establishment Clause jurisprudence.
Vashti, a character mentioned in the "Book of Esther". Vashti may also refer to:
Walter Fairleigh Dodd was a professor in the political science department at Johns Hopkins University who wrote "one of the most important books on the process of amending state constitutions."
The Dixon School Case was a lawsuit started in 1948 in New Mexico contesting the use of nuns, religious brothers and priests as teachers in publicly supported schools under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The case involved thirty schools in eleven New Mexico counties, twenty-eight plaintiffs, two hundred defendants, and public expenditures to the schools of over $600,000 annually. Following on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Everson v. Board of Education, which applied First Amendment freedoms to state as well as federal law, the Dixon School Case was the first state case to implement separation of church and state in public schools, and was watched with interest nationally.
In re Summers, 325 U.S. 561 (1945), is a 5-to-4 ruling by the United States Supreme Court which held that the First and Fourteenth amendment freedoms of a conscientious objector were not infringed when a state bar association declined to admit him to the practice of law. The Illinois Constitution required citizens to serve in the state militia in time of war, and all lawyers admitted to the bar were required to uphold the state constitution. Petitioner Clyde Summers could not uphold that constitutional requirement due to his religious beliefs, and the Supreme Court upheld the denial of his license of practice.
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Mueller v. Allen, 463 U.S. 388 (1983), was a United States Supreme Court case examining the constitutionality of a state tax deduction granted to taxpaying parents for school-related expenses, including expenses incurred from private secular and religious schools. The plaintiffs claimed that a Minnesota statute, allowing tax deductions for both public and private school expenses, had the effect of subsidizing religious instruction since parents who paid tuition to religious schools received a larger deduction than parents of public school students, who incurred no tuition expenses.
School prayer in the United States if organized by the school is largely banned from public elementary, middle and high schools by a series of Supreme Court decisions since 1962. Students may pray privately, and join religious clubs in after-school hours. Public schools are those operated by government agencies, such as local school districts. They are banned from conducting religious observances such as prayer. Private and parochial schools are not covered by these rulings, nor are colleges and universities. Elementary and secondary schools are covered because students are required to attend, and are considered more at risk from official pressure than are older students and adults. The Constitutional basis for this prohibition is the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which requires that
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...
Dannel McCollum was the mayor of Champaign, Illinois from 1987-1999. He is the author of the book The Lord Was Not on Trial about his mother Vashti McCollum's landmark 1948 Supreme Court case McCollum v. Board of Education, which struck down religious education in public schools. He also wrote the book Remembering Champaign County.