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Liberty Counsel Asks U.S. Supreme Court To Review Censorship of Jesus Image In Poster
March 12, 2010

Liberty Counsel Asks U.S. Supreme Court To Review Censorship of Jesus Image In Poster

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Liberty Counsel filed a petition asking the United States Supreme Court to review a New York school district’s censorship of a picture of Jesus that then-kindergartner Antonio Peck included on his poster showing ways to save the world. Liberty Counsel has represented Antonio, who is now a high school student, for more than 10 years. During that time, Antonio’s case has been heard by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals three times.

In the two prior appeals, the Second Circuit overruled a district court judge’s dismissal of Antonio’s claims and held that there was a concern that the school district’s actions could be seen as unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination. In the most recent appeal, the court skirted the issue of whether the school district violated Antonio’s constitutional rights by deciding that Antonio was no longer entitled to challenge the district’s actions, because there was no reasonable expectation that his work would be censored again.

In the petition filed with the Supreme Court today, Liberty Counsel argues that the Second Circuit’s most recent decision conflicts with Supreme Court precedent, which provides that students like Antonio have the right to challenge the actions of school officials so long as they remain subject to the district policies that prompted the actions. In Antonio’s case, school officials have said that they censored the picture of Jesus because they were concerned that adults might see the picture and think the school was teaching about religion. Since a concern about how adults would react to student work remains relevant throughout a student’s academic career, a challenge to action taken in response to that concern continues to be subject to court review, even if the student has progressed to a different grade level. The Second Circuit’s decision failed to follow this precedent, and Liberty Counsel is asking the Supreme Court to review the decision.

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INDIANAPOLIS —  The top-ranked senior at a suburban Indianapolis high school is asking a federal judge to stop a graduation prayer that the class voted to approve.

The lawsuit by 18-year-old Eric Workman says the prayer and the vote at Greenwood High School unconstitutionally subject religious practice to majority rule.

The senior class voted on the graduation prayer at a school assembly in September. The lawsuit contends the vote and the prayer violate the First Amendment.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed suit Thursday on behalf of Workman on in federal court in Indianapolis.

The suit says Workman is first in his class and expects to speak at graduation. A message was left with school officials seeking comment.

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