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HARRISBURG CHAPTER AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION v. ROBERT G. SCANLON (04/26/83)

decided: April 26, 1983.

THE HARRISBURG CHAPTER OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, ET AL., APPELLANTS,
v.
ROBERT G. SCANLON, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF EDUCATION OF THE COMMONWEALTH, ET AL.



Appeal No. 10 M.D. Appeal Docket, 1983 from the Order of the Commonwealth Court at No. 1181 C.D. 1981, dated July 30, 1982; James C. Crumlish, Judge.

COUNSEL

Arthur L. Berger, Richard L. McCoy, Harrisburg, for appellants.

Allan W. Holman, Jr., Sol., for West Perry School Dist.

Robert L. Rubendall, Sol., for Halifax School Dist.

Michael L. Harvey, Deputy Atty. Gen., for Robert G. Scanlon.

James D. Flower, Carlisle, for Carlisle School Dist.

Roberts, C.j., and Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson and Zappala, JJ. Roberts, C.j., files a dissenting opinion in which Flaherty, J., joins.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 500 Pa. Page 550]

ORDER

Order of Commonwealth Court affirmed.

ROBERTS, Chief Justice, dissenting.

I dissent and would remand the record to the Commonwealth Court with instructions to enter the consent decree which has been willingly and freely entered into by the parties.

This lawsuit began in May of 1982 when appellants filed an original action in the Commonwealth Court seeking to enjoin certain activities alleged to violate the Establishment Clauses of the United States and Pennsylvania Constitutions. Named as defendants were the Carlisle School District, the West Perry School District, the Halifax Area School District, and Robert G. Scanlon, in his official capacity as Secretary of Education of the Commonwealth. The complaint against the school districts sought declaratory and injunctive relief against (1) the reading of the Bible over the schools' public address systems, (2) the inclusion in the schools' curricula of word-memorization courses focusing exclusively on scriptural verses, and (3) the use of school facilities for faculty and student prayer and Bible meetings both during and after school hours. The complaint against the Secretary of Education sought to enjoin the Secretary from disbursing federal ...


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