Howard Friedman, Religion Clause
The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday denied certiorari in Morgan v. Swanson (Docket No. 11-804) and the cross appeal in the same case, Swanson v. Morgan (Docket No. 11-941). (Order List, 5/11/2012). In the case, in 8 separate opinions, a majority of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, held (see ) that because the law was not clearly established, Plano, Texas school principals had qualified immunity in a lawsuit charging them with restricting elementary school students’ distribution of religious literature to other students. A separate majority of the court held, however, that the principals’ actions were unconstitutional. Education Week reports on the Supreme Court’s denial of review, noting that the 5th Circuit’s decision applied to only two of several incidents in the schools that were challenged– one of which involved the attempted distribution of candy cane ink pens with a religious message attached.