American Humanist Assoc. v. Birdville I.S.D., No. 15-11067 (5th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
AHA and Isaiah Smith filed suit against the school district, alleging that the school district's policy of inviting students to deliver statements, which can include invocations, before school-board meetings violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause. The district court granted summary judgment for the school district. The court agreed with the district court that a school board was more like a legislature than a school classroom or event where the board is a deliberative body, charged with overseeing the district's public schools and other tasks. In Town of Greece v. Galloway, the Supreme Court stated unequivocally that the legislative-prayer exception in Marsh v. Chambers extends to prayers delivered at town-board meetings. In this case, the court concluded that the school board was no less a deliberative legislative body than was the town board in Galloway. Accordingly, the court affirmed the summary judgment in No. 16-11220, and reversed the order denying summary judgment in No. 15-11067.