Court Reinstates Disenrolled Cadet’s Establishment Clause Claim

A federal court has reinstated the Establishment Clause claim of a West Point cadet who was disenrolled for plagiarism and related honor code violations.  As part of the cadet’s punishment, he had been ordered by a panel to “stand with his body rigid in a military posture and to read aloud the ‘Cadet’s Prayer'”:

Oh God, our Father, Thou Searcher of human hearts, help us to draw near to Thee in sincerity and truth.  May our religion be filled with gladness and may our worship of Thee be natural . . . . Help us . . . in doing our duty to Thee[.]

The Secretary of the Army had dismissed the cadet’s Establishment Clause claim for lack of standing.  The court (DDC) disagreed and reinstated the claim, holding that the cadet had alleged an injury in fact.

The case is Spadone v. McHugh, 2012 WL 2017973 (D.D.C. June 6, 2012).

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