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Supreme Court Gets Second Petition on Compulsory Prayer in Schools

The United States Supreme Court has been asked for the second time in its current session to rule on the constitutionality of a local public school board regulation–this one in Maryland–requiring a daily prayer as part of the classroom opening exercise.

The High Tribunal was petitioned yesterday to rule on a decision handed down last month by the Maryland Court of Appeals, upholding the Baltimore School Board’s Bible-reading requirement. The Maryland court ruled four to three that the exercise, which also includes recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, did not violate the constitution.

A spokesman for the Supreme Court said today that it was “possible” the Maryland case could be heard before the close of the current term, slated for late June. He also said that the New York State school board case, on which the Supreme Court is now preparing a decision, “would not necessarily” affect the Court’s decision to hear the Maryland case. The New York case, on which oral arguments were presented last month, involves a 22-word prayer which advocated contend is non-sectarian.

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