Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, No. 99-62
Can a school district permit student-led, student-initiated prayer before high school football games?
Decision: No. The Court ruled 6-3 that even when attendance is voluntary and the decision to pray is made by students, pregame prayers are not private speech, and a football game is not a public forum for unbridled free expression.
From the majority opinion by Justice Stevens (joined by Justices OConnor, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer):
Contrary to the Districts repeated assertions that it has adopted a hands-off approach to the pregame invocation, the realities of the situation plainly reveal that its policy involves both perceived and actual endorsement of religion. In this case, as we found in Lee [ v. Weisman], the degree of school involvement makes it clear that the pregame prayers bear the imprint of the State and thus put schoolage children who objected in an untenable position.
Dissenting: Chief Justice Rehnquist (joined by Justices Scalia and Thomas)
Opinion and briefs: supreme.findlaw.com/Supreme_Court/docket/mardocket.html#99-62