Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School Dist., 509 U.S. 1, 3 (1993)

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Cite as: 509 U. S. 1 (1993)

Opinion of the Court

John C. Richardson argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief was Gary F. Urman.*

Chief Justice Rehnquist delivered the opinion of the Court.

Petitioner James Zobrest, who has been deaf since birth, asked respondent school district to provide a sign-language interpreter to accompany him to classes at a Roman Catholic high school in Tucson, Arizona, pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U. S. C. 1400 et seq., and its Arizona counterpart, Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. 15- 761 et seq. (1991 and Supp. 1992). The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided, however, that provision of such a publicly employed interpreter would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. We hold that the Establishment Clause does not bar the school district from providing the requested interpreter.

*Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf by Bonnie P. Tucker; for the American Jewish Congress et al. by Marc D. Stern, Lois C. Waldman, Oliver S. Thomas, and J. Brent Walker; for the Christian Legal Society et al. by Michael W. McConnell, Steven T. McFarland, and Bradley P. Jacob; for the Deaf Community Center, Inc., by Jay Alan Sekulow, James M. Henderson, Sr., Mark N. Troobnick, Jordan W. Lorence, Keith A. Fournier, John G. Stepanovich, Thomas Patrick Monaghan, and Walter M. Weber; for the United States Catholic Conference by Mark E. Chopko, John A. Liekweg, and Phillip H. Harris; for the Institute for Justice by William H. Mellor III and Clint Bolick; and for the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs by Nathan Lewin and Dennis Rapps.

Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for the American Civil Liberties Union et al. by Bradley S. Phillips, Steven R. Shapiro, John A. Powell, Steven K. Green, Steven M. Freeman, and Samuel Rabin-ove; for the Arizona School Boards Association, Inc., by Robert J. DuComb, Jr.; for the Council on Religious Freedom by Lee Boothby, Robert W. Nixon, Walter E. Carson, and Rolland Truman; for the National School Boards Association by Gwendolyn H. Gregory, August W. Steinhilber, and Thomas A. Shannon; and for the National Committee for Public Education and Religious Liberty et al. by David B. Isbell, T. Jeremy Gunn, and Elliot M. Mincberg.


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