Christian-Led CA School Board Wants to Throw More Money at Illegal Prayer Case

By Hemant Mehta

On July 25, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Directors (in California) was indeed violating the Establishment Clause by promoting Christianity at meetings.

They read Bible verses, said explicitly Christian prayers at the exclusion of all other beliefs, railed against marriage equality (presumably in the name of Jesus), etc. It was absolutely illegal, and the judges knew it.

If you’re looking for details of that case, you can read them here. But there’s one important aspect of it that won’t get a lot of attention: Money.

When the Board lost the initial case in 2016, U.S. District Judge Jesus G. Bernal said they had to pay the Freedom From Religion Foundation a whopping $202,971.70 for attorneys’ fees and other costs. That’s a ton of money for a District that could’ve hired four teachers instead.

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