July 5, 2016 – Ever
vigilant to protect the separation of church and state, the Jewish Social
Policy Action Network (JSPAN) today submitted a brief to the Supreme Court in
support of the State of Missouri, whose constitution contains a “no-aid” clause
that prohibits providing public funds to religious institutions
A new book by NYU professor Stephen D. Solomon, titled "ELLERY'S PROTEST - How One Young Man Defied Tradition and Sparked the Battle over School Prayer," served as the springboard for JSPAN President Jeff Pasek to interview Board Member Ted Mann about his role in Schempp v. School District of Abington Township, the Supreme Court case that outlawed Bible reading in public schools.
Given your central role in the most pivotal church-state case in American history, I was hoping you might answer a few questions. The Schemppcase was initiated by the ACLU. How did the ACLU reach a decision to challenge Bible reading in the schools? Ted: Sixteen year old Ellery Schempp wrote a letter to the ACLU's Philadelphia office complaining about the practice. Based on research by Bernard Wolfman (then a lawyer with Wolf Block, later Dean of Penn Law School, and still later a Harvard Law School Professor) who had concluded it was a very close call but that the case might be won, ACLU's Freedom of Expression Committee overwhelmingly decided that the case should be brought. ACLU's Board, on a 10-9 split vote, agreed.