Supreme Court Case: Engel v. Vitale Analysis

Essay by sweetcheeks925High School, 11th gradeA+, May 2006

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A. According to the First Amendment, the enactment of any law establishing a religion is prohibited. Under the supervision of the Constitution, Congress cannot interfere with the freedom of religion; however, the Fourteenth Amendment does not allow the states (or their officials) to limit the basic rights of all citizens.

B. In the case of Engel v. Vitale, the Board of Regents for the State of New York approved a short, voluntary prayer to be recited at the start of school each day. A group of parents whose children attended the School District disagreed with this religious practice and argued that the reading of a nondenominational prayer at the start of the school day violates the "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment.

C. In the opinion of the children's parents, the "use of the official prayer in the public school was contrary to the beliefs, religions, or religious practices of both themselves and their children" ("Engel v. Vitale"). The parents aimed to challenge the constitutionality of the School District's authorization of the use of prayer in public schools. In the eyes of the New York State Board of Regents, the prayer was a "Statement on Moral and Spiritual Training in the Schools" ("Engel v. Vitale"). The state officials declared that the "statement will be subscribed to by all men and women of good will, and [they] call upon all of them to aid in giving life to [the] program" ("Supreme Court Collection").

D. The court case of Engel v. Vitale originated in the state of New York, and was brought to the attention of a New York State Court by the malcontented parents of their children enrolled in the public school system. Reasoning behind the case being sustained within...