Students Told to Stop Praying Outside Supreme Court

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Students from a Christian school in Arizona say police stopped them from praying outside the U.S. Supreme Court building.

The Allliance Defense Fund said in a statement that on May 5, the small group of students from Wickenburg Christian Academy bowed their heads and began praying for the justices when court police stopped them.

The prayer was stopped based on a statute, 40 U.S.C. §6135, which bars parades and processions on Supreme Court grounds. A spokesman for the court says federal law allows normal tourist activity but forbids assembling in a way that attracts attention.

"Mrs. Rigo was not engaging in a parade, procession or assembly. She was speaking in a conversational level to those around her with her head bowed," the ADF letter to court officials explained. "There is no reason to silence Mrs. Rigo's activities since these activities do not attract attention, create a crowd, or give off the appearance of impartiality. The ban on public prayers cannot hope to survive First Amendment scrutiny."

The ADF has threatened to sue the court unless quiet prayers are allowed in the future. The marshall of the court is looking into the matter.

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