Medina Valley High School Defeats Americans United For Separation Of Church And State

“As valedictorian of Medina Valley High School, Angela Hildenbrand has earned the right to deliver a graduation speech that is uncensored by a federal judge.” - Senator John Cornyn

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott

KUDOS are in order to our Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of Medina Valley Independent School District. This case had to be overturned otherwise the Liberals would not have stopped with Medina Valley ISD. Think of what a dangerous precedent this ruling would have set. The citizens of Castroville united, the Mayor Bob Lee supported the Superintendent James Stansberry and Assistant Superintendent Chris Martinez. Amazing what can be accomplished when we unite to battle the Liberals.

I spoke to the Commander of the American Legion Post 460, Jerome Iltis who has followed this story with great concern. He attended Wednesday’s court hearing and was not happy with the outcome, as he felt that the Judge was wrong. Tonight he told me that, “I am extremely proud of the 2011 graduating class at Medina Valley High School.” He also let me know that the class Valedictorian, Angela Hildenbrand and the class Salutatorian, David Wurzbach, together with their families, were in the same Rosary Group at St. Louis Catholic Church that he and his wife attended. He added that Alicia Geruin, the class president, and her family were also devout Catholics. I could feel his pride in the families of Castroville.

We should all be overjoyed that these students will be able to address their classmates tomorrow at 8pm with the speeches they had prepared for graduation. They have now experienced first hand how quickly their right to free speech can disappear. And how important it is that they understand how critical it is that we stand up for our first amendment rights as Americans. Let us all pray that these young people come away knowing that as Texans and Americans they must continue to fight for God and Country.

View Video of Wednesday's News Conference 

STATEMENTS FROM GOVERNOR RICK PERRY

"I'm proud that the Fifth Circuit Court has overturned the lower court's order that banned prayer at a Texas high school graduation. I'm thankful for Attorney General Abbott's leadership in ensuring the First Amendment, which prohibits governments from interfering with Americans' rights to freely express their religious beliefs, is protected. Texas will continue to fight for the rights of all those who wish to pray in our state." "This reprehensible action taken by a federal judge underscores the increasingly inappropriate federal encroachment into the lives of Americans by unconstitutionally banning prayer at a Texas high school graduation. The First Amendment prohibits governments from interfering with Americans' rights to freely express their religious beliefs, and accordingly the U.S. Supreme Court has maintained that Congress may convene every day with a prayer. I fully support Attorney General Abbott's efforts to defend the right to pray, and Texas will continue to stand behind all those who wish to pray in our state."

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2011
www.texasattorneygeneral.gov

STATEMENT FROM TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL GREG ABBOTT

It should not be illegal for students to say a prayer at a graduation ceremony. Now, the federal court of appeals agrees.

A misguided attempt to prevent graduating seniors from exercising their First Amendment rights has been thwarted--and the Medina Valley High School Class of 2011's graduation speakers will no longer suffer from court-ordered censorship.

Today, a federal appeals court reversed an order by a lower court that unconstitutionally prohibited students from offering prayers during graduation ceremonies. Under a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the district judge's injunction has been dissolved and all students' First Amendment rights have been protected."

EXCERPT FROM Case: 11-50486 Document: 00511498424 Page: 1 Date Filed: 06/03/2011

The motion also did not expressly address the involvement of the valedictorian in the graduation ceremony. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the emergency motion of the appellants to dissolve the temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction is GRANTED; accordingly the temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction entered by the district court are DISSOLVED, and the case is REMANDED to the district court for possible further proceedings. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the opposed motion of Angela Hildenbrand to intervene is DENIED without prejudice. She is hereby permitted to proceed as amicus curiae. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the opposed motion of Angela Hildenbrand for relief from temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction is DENIED as moot.

https://www.oag.state.tx.us/newspubs/releases/2011/060311medinavalley_decision.pdf

STATEMENT FROM JONATHAN SAENZ FROM THE LIBERTY INSTITUTE

“We are very excited that the 1st amendment has prevailed and the court has recognized that a private student’s speech even in the form of a prayer is protected at a high school graduation.”

STATEMENTS FROM SENATOR JOHN CORNYN
"This is a victory not only for valedictorian Angela Hildenbrand, but also for her fellow graduates and young people across the country whose rights to express themselves through prayer at graduation ceremonies were vindicated. Today the gavel fell on the side of justice and reaffirmed the constitutional rights we hold dear."

"As valedictorian of Medina Valley High School, Angela Hildenbrand has earned the right to deliver a graduation speech that is uncensored by a federal judge. The district court's decision, to quote the late Chief Justice, bristles with hostility to all things religious in public life. This heavy-handed, activist decision is exactly the wrong civics lesson to teach to the Class of 2011 and it should be overturned by the Fifth Circuit."

TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL GREG ABBOTT
https://www.oag.state.tx.us/agency/contacts.shtml

Why not Thank our Texas Attorney General
greg.abbott@oag.state.tx.us


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