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Wallace v. Jaffree

Significance, Court Strikes Down "minute Of Silence" Law As Impermissible State Sponsorship Of Religion


George C. Wallace, Governor of Alabama


Ishmael Jaffree

Appellant's Claim

That public schools can provide students with a minute of silence each day for purposes of meditation or prayer without violating the doctrine of church-state separation.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

John S. Baker, Jr.

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Ronnie L. Williams

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O'Connor, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., John Paul Stevens (writing for the Court)

Justices Dissenting

Warren E. Burger, William H. Rehnquist, Byron R. White


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

4 December 1984


The Supreme Court struck down the Alabama "moment of silence" statute.

Related Cases

  • Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962).
  • Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963).
  • Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971).
  • Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668 (1984).


Eastland, Terry. Religious Liberty in the Supreme Court. Washington, DC: Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1993.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988