Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School Dist., 508 U.S. 384, 3 (1993)

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Opinion of the Court

itor General, and Lillian Z. Cohen and Jeffrey I. Slonim, Assistant Attorneys General.*

Justice White delivered the opinion of the Court. New York Educ. Law 414 (McKinney 1988 and Supp. 1993) authorizes local school boards to adopt reasonable regulations for the use of school property for 10 specified purposes when the property is not in use for school purposes. Among the permitted uses is the holding of "social, civic and recreational meetings and entertainments, and other uses pertaining to the welfare of the community; but such meetings, entertainment and uses shall be non-exclusive and shall be open to the general public." 414(c).1 The list of permitted uses does not include meetings for religious purposes, and a New York appellate court in Trietley v. Board of Ed. of Buffalo, 409 N. Y. S. 2d 912, 915 (App. Div. 1978), ruled that local boards could not allow student bible clubs to meet

*Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the United States by Solicitor General Starr, Assistant Attorney General Gerson, Deputy Solicitor General Roberts, Edward C. DuMont, Anthony J. Steinmeyer, and Lowell V. Sturgill, Jr.; for the American Civil Liberties Union et al. by David H. Remes, T. Jeremy Gunn, Steven R. Shapiro, John A. Powell, and Elliot M. Mincberg; for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations by Robert M. Weinberg, Laurence Gold, and Walter A. Kamiat; for the Christian Legal Society et al. by Kimberlee Wood Colby, Steven T. McFarland, Bradley P. Jacob, and Karon Owen Bowdre; for Concerned Women for America et al. by Wendell R. Bird and David J. Myers; for the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs by Nathan Lewin and Dennis Rapps; and for the Rutherford Institute by James J. Knicely and John W. Whitehead.

Jay Worona, Pilar Sokol, and Louis Grumet filed a brief for the New York State School Boards Association et al. as amici curiae urging affirmance.

1 Section 414(e) authorizes the use of school property "[f]or polling places for holding primaries and elections and for the registration of voters and for holding political meetings. But no meetings sponsored by political organizations shall be permitted unless authorized by a vote of a district meeting, held as provided by law, or, in cities by the board of education thereof."

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