Engel v. Vitale
On June 25, 1962, the U.S.
Supreme Court ruled that the recitation of a
prayer in New York public schools was
The prayer in question was
composed by the State Board of Regents and read
"Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence
upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our
parents, our teachers and our country." The
Court, whose majority opinion was written by
Justice Hugo Black, with five other justices
concurring and one, Justice Potter Stewart,
dissenting, held that it was not the business of
public officials to write or sanction official
prayer. The Regents' action, said the Court,
violated the religious-establishment clause of
the First Amendment, even though recitation of
the prayer was voluntary.
William J. Butler, attorney for Steven I.
Engel, and Bertram B. Daiker, attorney for
William J. Vitale, Jr., debate the implications
of the Supreme Court's decision on an NBC
Questions or comments about