News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Court Declines Case On School Bible Fliers
The U.S. Supreme Court took a pass last week on an Arizona school
district's appeal of a ruling that its refusal to distribute a brochure
for a summer camp that featured Bible classes violated the First
The Scottsdale Unified School District had been sued in 2000 by the operator of a local camp after administrators decided that the camp's brochure violated the Phoenix-area district's policy against fliers of a "commercial, political, or religious nature."
Joseph J. Hills' brochure for his Desert Mountain Summer Camp listed 19 course offerings, including two sessions taught from a Christian perspective titled "Bible Heroes" and "Bible Tales."
In 2001, a federal district judge granted a summary judgment in the district's favor. But last May, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, held that the action amounted to "impermissible viewpoint discrimination" under Supreme Court precedents and sent the case back to the U.S. District Court.
The 27,000-student district asked the high court to review the case in Scottsdale Unified School District v. Hills (Case No. 03-696). On Jan. 20, the justices declined without comment to accept the appeal.
Brown Anniversary Panel Meets at Virginia Sites
The Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Commission continues to meet around the country at sites related to the historic school desegregation case.
The federally created commission met in the Richmond, Va., area this month, including a formal session Jan. 15 at the Virginia state Capitol and a Jan. 16 trip to Farmville, Va., to visit sites affiliated with the case of Davis v. School Board of Prince Edward County. That case was one of four consolidated into the 1954 Brown decision.
Congress established the 23-member panel to oversee the commemoration of the landmark decision. Since 2002, the panel has also held meetings in Columbia, S.C., and Wilmington, Del., related to two other cases consolidated into Brown. It has also met in Washington, the home of the Bolling v. Sharpe case decided the same day as Brown; and in Boston, where the first legal challenge to segregated schools was filed in the 19th century.
The sixth and final meeting of the commission will be held in March in Topeka, Kan., the site of the Brown case itself.
Vol. 23, Issue 20, Page 26