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  1. 1. Marsh v. Chambers 1983
  2. 2. Marsh v. Chambers,(1983) was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that government funding for chaplains was constitutional Happened 1983 Argued April 20, 1983 Decided July 5, 1983
  3. 3. background  Nebraska state senator Ernie Chambers sued in federal court claiming that the legislature's practice of opening sessions with a prayer offered by a statesupported chaplain was in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The district court held that the prayer did not violate the Constitution, but that state support for the chaplain did. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals held that both practices violated the Constitution.
  4. 4. 1st Amendment  This unique history leads us to accept the understanding of the First Amendment draftsmen who saw no real threat to the Establishment Clause arising from a practice of prayer similar to that now challenged.
  5. 5. 1st Amendment Establishment Clause • Guards against establishing a mandated religion. • In effect, freedom from religion Free Exercise Clause • Guards against the government interfering in the exercise of any religion. • In effect, freedom for religion.
  6. 6. Decision of the Court    In a 6-3 decision in favor of Marsh Justice Burger wrote the opinion for the majority Justice Burger notes that the position of chaplain has been closely tied to the work of state and federal legislatures.
  7. 7. Opinion The use of prayer is embedded in the nation's history and tradition. That the practice of the Nebraska legislature is consistent with the framers� intent is proven by their use of chaplains. Additionally, the Supreme Court and Congress have traditionally begun their sessions with prayers.
  8. 8. Opinion  The public payment of the chaplain is historically allowable  because it was done by the Continental Congress years earlier. The frequency of involving prayer with governmental activity without unpleasant effect has shown that there is no real threat from continuing the practice.