From: <CEvans1950@aol.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 1998 18:56:21 EDT


Seems like they elected an institutionizable case for governor in AL.

Guardianship proceedings are called for at the least: someone whose intellectual capacities are so limited that they cannot understand the wisdom of the separation of church and state should think twice about driving a car much less run a state.


Court Rejects School Prayer Argument

.c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (June 22) - The Supreme Court quickly rejected a defiant appeal today in a white-hot dispute over prayers in Alabama's public schools.

The justices, acting without comment, turned away Gov. Fob James' attack against a federal judge's order that limits religious practices in DeKalb County, Ala., schools - an order James simultaneously is appealing in a federal appeals court.

The Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the court's action was no surprise. "Gov. James' appeal ... never had a prayer," Lynn said. "It was so bizarre, the justices brushed it aside in near-record time."

James, reacting to the court's action, told reporters, "We just continue ... stronger than ever. I fired with both barrels and if I had another, I'd fire it."

U.S. District Judge Ira DeMent last year struck down an Alabama law that would have allowed "nonsectarian, nonproselytizing, student-initiated, voluntary prayers" at all school-related events. He said the law would be coercive and lead to "excessive entanglement" between religion and government.

The judge said his barring certain religious activities - including teacher- led devotionals, vocal prayers at assemblies and Bible giveaways during school hours - "does nothing to limit individual exercise of personal religious beliefs."

For example, he said, students in religious clubs can meet and worship whenever and wherever other clubs are allowed. And students' unobtrusive silent prayer is allowed at any time.

James appealed the judge's order to the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but then asked the Supreme Court to bypass the appeals court and order DeMent to rescind his injunction.

In seeking such help, James' 30-page appeal attacked the Supreme Court more than DeMent.

"Freedom of religion is disappearing in America," he argued in an appeal filed by his son, Forrest H. James III. "Because of this court, a few people claiming freedom from religion can silence others in public places such as schools."

James accused Justice Sandra Day O'Connor of basing her vote to uphold abortion rights on her "agnostic" beliefs, and accused all nine justices of "disobeying the supreme law by taking for themselves the unconstitutional power to decide religious issues for the whole nation."

He also contended that government officials and citizens should defy Supreme Court decisions they deem unconstitutional.

When James filed the appeal in May, American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Pamela Sumners called it "a profound embarrassment to the state of Alabama." But the ACLU waived its right to respond to James' appeal, and the Supreme Court did not press for one.

AP-NY-06-22-98 1748EDT


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