Attempt to Overturn ACLU Religious Freedom Agreement to be Withdrawn in Santa Rosa County

Conditions of Court-Approved 2009 Agreement Clarified to Protect Religious Freedom in Public Schools PENSACOLA, Fla. – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Florida today announced an agreement with the Santa Rosa County, Fla. superintendent of schools to strengthen and clarify a court-approved 2009 consent decree ending school sponsored religious activities. The ACLU and the district’s superintendent agreed to reinforce and clarify the basic premise of theiginal consent decree: official, government-sanctioned religious activities are prohibited under the Constitution while individual religious expressions are constitutionally protected. “Ouriginal agreement with the school district was clear and consistent with religious liberty provisions of the Constitution,” said Benjamin James Stevenson, attorney in the ACLU of Florida’s Northwest Regional Office in Pensacola. “To the extent there was any confusion – real mostly invented – about what the Constitution requires, we want to be clear and have been even more clear now.” After theiginal consent decree was approved by a federal judge in May 2009, the Liberty Counsel, an outside Christian legalganization, attempted to intervene and overturn the entire consent decree. A federal court rejected its challenge after a December 2009 hearing, and the Liberty Counsel appealed. The Liberty Counsel also filed a separate, similar lawsuit challenging the Consent Decree in May 2010. With the clarifications announced today, the Liberty Counsel will withdraw its legal challenge and the related appeal and support the new, modified consent decree. Neither the Liberty Counsel nor the any of the plaintiffs in their legal challenges were a party to today’s agreement on the modified consent decree. “We are glad the essence of the underlyingder remains intact, and we hope these minor clarifications will allow the teachers, students, staff and taxpayers of Santa Rosa County to move forward,” said Daniel Mach, Director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. A copy of revised agreement with marked changes is here: For more information on this case and the ACLU’s work defending religious freedom, please visit:

Twitter Follow

Follow us on

Contact Us

ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT:  This communication or portions thereof may be considered "advertising" as defined by Section 6157(c) of the California Business and Professions Code or within the jurisdiction in which you are viewing this.  Nothing in the discussion above is intended to be a representation or guarantee about the outcome of any legal proceeding in which you may be involved.  By providing the information above in this format, Michel & Associates is not soliciting you to hire it to handle a specific legal matter you may currently have or be anticipating commencing in the future.  Notwithstanding the discussion above, you should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content on this site without seeking appropriate legal advice regarding your particular circumstances from an attorney licensed to practice law.  This communication is informational only and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Michel & Associates.  Michel & Associates's attorneys are licensed to practice in California, Texas, and the District of Columbia.