First Amendment topicsAbout the First Amendment
Westside Community Board of Education v. Mergens (docket #: 88-1597) (1990)  [Findlaw]

Secondary Link Westside Community Board of Education v. Mergens  [Legal Information Institute]
Argument Date 01/09/1990
Decided 6/4/1990
Supreme Court Vote 4-4-1
Note The Court did not reach a decision based on the Establishment Clause because it found that the Equal Access Act, which was not facially unconstitutional, had been violated.
Supreme Court Ruling Establishment Clause claim denied
IssueWhether the Equal Access Act prohibits a public school from denying a student religious group permission to meet on school premises during noninstructional time, and if so, whether the Act violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
Majority Opinion O'Connor, J. (joined on Parts I, II-A, II-B, and II-C by Rehnquist, C. J., White, J., Blackmun, J., Scalia, J., and Kennedy, J., and on Part III by Rehnquist, C.J., White, J., Blackmun, J., and Kennedy, J.)
Concurring Opinion Kennedy J., (joined by Scalia, J.) concurring in judgment, & Marshall, J. (joined by Brennan, J.) concurring in judgment
Dissenting Opinion Stevens, J.
Lower Court 8th Circuit
Lower Court Ruling Establishment Clause claim denied
For Petitioner
Allen E. Daubman

For Respondent
Jay Alan Sekulow

For Amicus
Albert L. Jordan for the Southern Center for Law & Ethics

Andrew J. Ekonomou for Dr. David Moshman

Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs et al. (for respondent)

Kevin T. Baine and Kevin J. Hasson for the Knights of Columbus

Kevin T. Baine and Kevin J. Hasson for the Rutherford Institute et al. (for respondent)

Mark E. Chopko and John A. Liekweg for the United States Catholic Conference

Nancy J. Gannon for the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights (for respondent)

ordan W. Lorence, Cimron Campbell, and Wendell R. Bird for Concerned Women for America (for respondents)

Richard Collin Mangrum, pro se

Richard E. Shevitz, Ruti G. Teitel, Meyer Eisenberg, Jeffrey P. Sinensky, Steven M. Freeman, and Jill L. Kahn for the Anti-Defamation League of B'Nai B'rith et al. (for petitioners)

Robert R. Thompson for Campus Crusades for Christ, Inc.

Samuel Rabinove, Richard T. Foltin, and Lee Boothby for the American Jewish Congress (for petitioners)

Tara Lynn Burr et al.

Thomas Patrick Monaghan for Specialty Research Associates, Inc.

Wendell R. Bird for Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (for respondents)

Wendolyn H. Gregory, August W. Steinhilber, and Thomas A. Shannon for the National School Boards Association (for petitioners)

William R. Weissman, David W. Danner, and Susan M. Liss for People for the American Way (for petitioners)

News Stories & Commentary
Greenhouse, Linda, "High Court Rules Religious Clubs Can Meet in Public High Schools," The New York Times, June 5, 1990, Sect. A, P. 1
Marcus, Ruth, "Schools Brace for Fallout From Bible-Club Ruling," The Washington Post, June 11, 1991, Sect. A, P. 4
Niebuhr, Gustav, "Conservatives' New Frontier: Religious Liberty Law Firms," The New York Times, July 8, 1995, Sect. A, P. 1
Witte, John, Jr. RELIGION AND THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERIMENT (2000), pp. 145, 159, 180-181.
About this site
About the First Amendment
About the First Amendment Center
First Amendment programs
State of the First Amendment

First Reports
Supreme Court
First Amendment publications
First Amendment Center history
Freedom Sings™
First Amendment

Congressional Research Service reports
Guest editorials
FOI material
The First Amendment

Lesson plans
Contact us
Privacy statement
Related links