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Virginia School to Appeal Prayer Ruling

August 16, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

Virginia Atty. Gen. Jerry W. Kilgore plans to appeal to the Supreme Court a case involving the Virginia Military Institute's dinnertime prayers after an evenly divided appellate court upheld its previous decision declaring the prayers unconstitutional.

"These prayers are part of VMI's educational program and are precisely the kind of prayers recited in the United States military, on ships at sea each night, and before lunch" at the U.S. Naval Academy, Kilgore said.

His comments came after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused Wednesday to reconsider an April decision by a three-judge panel.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which sued on behalf of two former cadets in May 2001, argued that the rigid atmosphere of the state-sponsored school in Lexington did not provide accommodation for cadets who did not want to participate.

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