VMI Appeal for Prayer Ruling Denied by Supreme Court

April 26, 2004

Source: The Associated Press


On April 26, 2004 The Associated Press reported, "The Supreme Court said today that it wouldn't consider reinstating mealtime prayers at a state-funded military college, turning aside an appeal from Virginia officials who wanted to preserve the tradition. Justice Antonin Scalia blasted his colleagues for refusing to hear the case, arguing that it raised important church-state questions. Leaving those issues unresolved is unfair to the Virginia Military Institute, Scalia wrote in a dissent joined by fellow conservative Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had found that VMI's mealtime prayers violated the First Amendment's prohibition against establishment of religion, and the high court's decision not to hear the case means that the 4th Circuit ruling in Mellen v. Bunting will stand. VMI, part of the state university system in Virginia, lost a previous Supreme Court battle over its all-male admissions policy. The high court forced VMI to admit women in 1996, as Scalia noted dryly in his dissent. "