Thursday, June 07, 2012

Former Cadet May Challenge Required Prayer At Honor Code Hearing

In Spadone v. McHugh, (D DC, June 6, 2012), the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that former West Point cadet Alan Spandone has standing to claim that the Establishment Clause was violated when, at a hearing on his alleged Honor Code violations, he was ordered by the Commandant of Cadets to stand with his body rigid in a military posture and to read aloud the "Cadet’s Prayer."  The hearing involved charges of plagiarism, and the Commandant thought that Spandone had not shown contrition or accepted responsibility for his conduct. The Army argued to the court that reinstating Spandone would not cure the Establishment Clause violation.  The court held, however, that the likely remedy would be an injunction banning forced religious prayer. The court however rejected due process and other challenges by Spandone to his removal from West Point.