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Lee v. Weisman - Significance, Political Landscape, Graduation Traditions, Application Of Lemon, A Test For Lemon, Impact

court washington school petitioners


Robert E. Lee, et al.


Daniel Weisman

Petitioners' Claim

That nonsectarian prayers offered as invocations and benedictions at public school graduation ceremonies do not represent an infringement of the Establishment Clause suggesting separation of church and state.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioners

Charles J. Cooper

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Sandra A. Blanding

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, Anthony M. Kennedy (writing for the Court), Sandra Day O'Connor, David H. Souter, John Paul Stevens

Justices Dissenting

William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Byron R. White


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

24 June 1992


Affirmed rulings of the district court and court of appeals, which held that, regardless of their content, the offering of prayers at public school graduation ceremonies constituted a violation of the Establishment Clause.

Related Cases

  • Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 430 (1962).
  • Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963).
  • Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971).
  • Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983).
  • Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1985).
  • Board of Education of Kiryas Joel v. Grumet, 93 U.S. 517 (1994).

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt, eds. Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1990, 491.
  • Biskupic, Joan, ed. Supreme Court Yearbook 1991- 1992, Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Inc.
  • Lawton, Kim A. "Do Students Have a Prayer?" Christianity Today, 21 June 1993, p. 45.
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