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FRF v. HSD

FRF v. HSD

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Published by legalclips
A federal district court in New Hampshire has ruled that the state’s statute requiring the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools does not violate the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment or Free Exercise of Religion Clauses.
A federal district court in New Hampshire has ruled that the state’s statute requiring the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools does not violate the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment or Free Exercise of Religion Clauses.

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: legalclips on Oct 06, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/28/2010

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTDISTRICT OF NEW HAMPSHIREThe Freedom from Religion Foundation;Jan Doe and Pat Doe, Parents;DoeChild-1, DoeChild-2, and DoeChild-3,Minor Children,PlaintiffsCivil No. 07-cv-356-SMv.Opinion No. 2009 DNH 142The Hanover School District andThe Dresden School District,DefendantsThe United States of America,IntervenorThe State of New Hampshire,IntervenorAnna Chobanian, John Chobanian,Kathryn Chobanian, Schuyler Cyrus,Elijah Cyrus, Rhys Cyrus, AustinCyrus, Daniel Phan, Muriel Cyrus,Michael Chobanian, Margarethe Chobanian,Minh Phan, Suzu Phan, and the Knights ofColumbus,Intervenors
O R D E R 
The parties remaining as defendants in this case are theHanover School District and the Dresden School District. Allother individuals and institutions named in the caption of thisorder are intervenors and, as such, have the right to be heard ononly two issues: the constitutionality of 4 U.S.C. § 4 (sometimesreferred to below as “the federal Pledge statute”), and theconstitutionality of N.H.
 
R
EV
.
 
S
TAT
.
 
A
NN
. (“RSA”) § 194:15-c
 
2(sometimes referred to below as “the New Hampshire Pledgestatute”).
Background
The school districts moved to dismiss the claims againstthem “for the reasons set forth in the Federal Government’sMemorandum in Support of the Federal Defendants’ Motion toDismiss . . . as to the constitutionality of 4 U.S.C. § 4 and theState of New Hampshire’s Memorandum of Law in Support of Motionto dismiss . . . as to the constitutionality of RSA 194:15-c.”(Mot. to Dismiss (document no. 46), at 1-2.) Thereafter,plaintiffs filed their first amended complaint (document no. 52).The following facts are drawn from that complaint.Jan Doe and Pat Doe (“the Doe parents”) are the mother andfather of DoeChild-1, DoeChild-2, and DoeChild-3 (“the Doechildren”). At the time the complaint was filed, the eldest Doechild attended a middle school jointly administered by theHanover and Dresden school districts. The two younger Doechildren were enrolled in a public elementary school operated bythe Hanover district.Jan and Pat Doe describe themselves as atheist and agnostic,respectively. Both are members of the Freedom from ReligionFoundation. Each of the Doe children is said to be either an
 
3atheist or an agnostic, and each is said to either deny or doubtthe existence of God.The Pledge of Allegiance (“Pledge”) is routinely recited inthe Doe childrens’ classrooms, under the leadership of theirteachers. As provided by Congress, the Pledge reads:I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States ofAmerica, and to the Republic for which it stands, oneNation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justicefor all.4 U.S.C. § 4. While the statute prescribes the text of thePledge, and describes the preferred formalities attendant to itsrecitation, the statute includes no other mandate. That is, thestatute does not compel recitation of the Pledge under anycircumstances or by any person.In New Hampshire, recitation of the Pledge in schools isgoverned by state law, which provides:I. As a continuation of the policy of teachingour country’s history to the elementary and secondarypupils of this state, this section shall be known asthe New Hampshire School Patriot Act.II. A school district shall authorize a period oftime during the school day for the recitation of thepledge of allegiance. Pupil participation in therecitation of the pledge of allegiance shall bevoluntary.III. Pupils not participating in the recitationof the pledge of allegiance may silently stand or

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