ADL JOINS BRIEF ASKING SUPREME COURT TO HEAR CASE IN SCHOOL RELIGION
New York, NY, May 29, 1998
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has joined an amicus
brief urging the Supreme Court to hear the appeal of Bauchman v. West High School,
a notorious case in which Rachel Bauchman, a Jewish student, was required to engage in
Mormon religious activities as a part of a choir class at a Utah public high school.
The brief asks the Supreme Court to consider overturning a
controversial circuit court decision which radically departed from prior Supreme Court
rulings. Although Ms. Bauchman had presented ample evidence that her choir teachers
purpose in designing the classs curriculum was to promote the Mormon religion, the
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the teachers conduct did not violate the
The brief asserts that if the Tenth Circuit decision is allowed to
stand, it "will have the insidious effect of permitting the advancement of religion
in public schools in all but the most narrow of cases." The decision, the brief
states, "provides a road map for public school teachers to convert their lectern into
"The Supreme Court ought not let the Tenth Circuits
outrageous decision stand," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "The
religious freedom of all Americans is jeopardized when courts allow public school
authorities to promote their own narrow religious agendas in clear violation of the
The brief was prepared on ADLs behalf by the New York law firm of
Debevoise & Plimpton. More than a dozen other organizations joined it, including the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the American Jewish Committee, the General Conference of
Seventh-Day Adventists and the National Organization for Women Foundation.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.