Case Argument: Lee v. Weisman 505 US 577 (1992)

Case Argument: Lee v. Weisman 505 US 577 (1992)
Case Summary: Daniel Weisman filed for a temporary restraining order to prohibit middle and high school officials in Providence, Rhode Island from including public prayers in the graduation of his daughter Deborah Weisman four days before the ceremony. The District Court denied Weisman’s motion for lack of adequate time to consider it. The Weisman family then attended Deborah’s graduation at the Nathan Bishop Middle School and Rabbi Leslie Gutterman of Temple Beth El led the prayers. After the graduation, Weisman filed for a permanent injunction that would bar Robert E. Lee, Deborah’s middle school principal, and various other Providence School officials from inviting clergy to deliver invocations and benedictions at future graduations.

Concurring Opinions: Blackmun concurred: “Government may neither promote nor affiliate itself with any religious doctrine or organization, nor may it obtrude itself in the internal affairs of any religious institution…Government pressure to participate in a religious activity is an obvious indication that the government is endorsing or promoting religion.” Likewise, Souter also concurred: “I write…on two issues…: whether [the Establishment Clause]…applies to…practices that do not favor one religion or denomination over others, and whether state coercion of religious conformity, over and above state endorsement of religious exercise or belief, is a necessary element of an Establishment Clause violation.”
Linder, D. (2009). “Introduction to the Establishment Clause.” Exploring Constitutional Conflicts. Kansas: University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School. Retrieved July 20, 2007, from
U.S. Supreme Court. (1989). “County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union, Greater Pittsburgh Chapter, 492 U.S. 573.”
U.S. Supreme Court. (1992). “Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577.” FindLaw. Retrieved July 17, 2007, from
U.S. Supreme Court. (1971). “Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602.” FindLaw. Retrieved July 20, 2007, from
U.S. Supreme Court. (1984). “Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668.”
U.S. Supreme Court. (1985). “Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38.”

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