Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Louisiana School Board Invocation Case Heard By En Banc 5th Circuit

Today, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, heard arguments in Doe v. Tangipahoa Parish School Board. All 15 judges are reviewing a split decision of a 3-judge panel on the proper test to be used in deciding whether school board meetings can be opened with sectarian prayers. (See prior posting.) The AP reported the courtroom was so full today that part of a group of home school students who hoped to watch had to remain in the hall outside. Much of the argument focused on whether plaintiffs had actually attended the Tangipahoa Parish Louisiana school board meetings, and whether it mattered if they did not. Alliance Defense Fund attorney Mike Johnson, representing the school board, was stumped by one question asked by Judge E. Grady Jolly: "How many non-Christian churches are there in Tangipahoa?"