header image
Home Page
Hear Past Shows
About Us
April 22, 2018

Note: Justice Talking's grant funding expired in 2008 and the project has been closed. This website is an archive of the entire run of Justice Talking shows through June 30, 2008.
It is no longer being maintained. We apologize for any stale or broken links.
Featured Program

Moment of Silence
Last Featured: 4/22/2002

Listen to Full Program
(Windows Media Player Required)

Download the MP3
(Right-click and choose 'Save As...'
from the pop-up menu.)

Note: Justice Talking ceased production on June 30 of 2008. Link information on this site is not maintained and is provided for historical interest only. Although correct when posted, The Annenberg Public Policy Center makes no claim as the the accuracy or continued availability of any third party web links found on this site.

In 2001, the State of Virginia mandated that public schools start each day with a moment of silence, during which time students can ``meditate, pray or engage in other silent activity.`` But 16-year old Jordan Kupersmith of Potomac Falls High School objected ### to what he believed was an effort to bring religion into the public schools. As the 2001 school term began, Kupersmith walked out of class to protest the minute of silence policy as it was announced over the school intercom. Aided by the ACLU, Kupersmith challenged the law, arguing that it violated the Constitution’s separation of church and state. Despite a 1985 U.S. Supreme Court decision that outlawed Alabama`s moment of silence, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the Virginia statute as constitutional. The U.S. Supreme court let the Virginia ruling stand, paving the way for more states to mandate moments of silence in the classroom.

Walter Dellinger is a partner at Washington, D.C. law firm of O’Melveny & Myers. A Professor of Law at Duke University, Mr. Dellinger was head of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Clinton Justice Department. As Solicitor General, he argued a record 9 cases before the Supreme Court, including those dealing with remedial services for parochial school children, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and doctor assisted suicide.

Bill Pryor , the Alabama Attorney General, is a national leader in litigation involving federalism. He recently won several major Supreme Court cases, including University of Alabama vs. Garrett and Alexander vs. Sandoval, two important cases limiting the reach of federal civil rights statutes. The Wall Street Journal has called Bill Pryor“the intellectual leader of Alabama Republicans.”

Closing Quote
"Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel to all dull discourses and all foolish acts...where no indignity can assail, no personality can disturb us."

— Henry David Thoreau

©1999-2018 University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved. Any Justice Talking program downloaded or podcast from this site is for personal use only. Any Justice Talking program, or portion of it, may not reproduced, publicly distributed or displayed, used to create a derivative work, or otherwise copied or transmitted to a third party, in any format now known or hereafter discovered, except as expressly permitted by Law.

To request permission to use Justice Talking audio, please contact support.
Join the Debate
NOTE: Justice Talking Blogs and Forums have been closed.
Special Announcements
Justice Talking’s last broadcast & podcast was June 30, 2008.

ATTENTION TEACHERS: Additional materials supporting use of this program in the classroom are available: ClickHere
National Reform Association
Concerned Women for America
Religious Tolerance.org
American Atheists
American Civil Liberties Union Freedom Network
Freedom From Religion Foundation
Pray Tell, Why the Fuss?
Department of Education
Anti Defamation League
School Prayer: A Community at War
Federalist Society Statement
Prayer and Religion in the Public Schools
by David M. Ackerman
School Prayer : A History of the Debate
by Tricia Andryszewski
Without a Prayer : Religious Expression in Public Schools
by Robert S. Alley
Freedom of Religion
“O, Christmas Tree”: Religion in the Public Square
Intelligent Design: Scientific Inquiry or Religious Indoctrination?