ADF attorneys file brief supporting ‘moment of silence’ in Texas

ALLIANCE DEFENSE FUND NEWS RELEASE
August 11, 2008 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT ADF MEDIA RELATIONS: (480) 444-0020 or www.telladf.org/pressroom


ADF attorneys file brief
supporting ‘moment of silence’ in Texas

NEW ORLEANS — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit Monday in defense of a Texas law requiring students to observe one minute of silence following the Pledge of Allegiance.

“A moment of silence is not a government endorsement of religion just because someone might use the time for prayer,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman. “No student is compelled to pray under the Texas law. The court should dismiss this lawsuit because the parents who filed it cannot demonstrate that their children have suffered any harm; therefore, they do not have legal standing to challenge the statute.”

School boards in Texas are required to set aside one minute per day at each school in order to allow students to “reflect, pray, meditate, or engage in any other silent activity that is not likely to interfere with or distract another student.” In 2007, David and Shannon Croft, parents of three children who attend school in the Carrolton-Farmers Branch Independent School District, filed a lawsuit claiming the requirement “causes harm” to their children and is a violation of their First Amendment rights.

In January, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas upheld the law, ruling that it is constitutional. The American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State have filed briefs stating their opposition to the law. Several courts have upheld similar moment of silence laws against Establishment Clause challenges.

“There is no evidence to support the parents’ claim that observing a moment of silence causes any injury to their children,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “We trust that the 5th Circuit will uphold the decision of the district court.”

A copy of the friend-of-the-court brief filed with the 5th Circuit in Croft v. Perry is available at www.telladf.org/UserDocs/PerryAmicus.pdf.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. ADF President Alan Sears is co-author with Craig Osten of the book The ACLU vs. America (www.acluvsamerica.com).


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