Roberts Memo Shows Support for 'Silent Prayer' in Schools

Supreme Court nominee John Roberts stated that it "seems indefensible" that 'silent prayer' in public schools could be prohibited, according to a memo released on Monday.

Referring to a ruling by the High Court in 1985, the then young lawyer working in the Reagan administration, wrote in a memo that he would support a constitutional amendment suggested by some Conservatives in Congress to allow silent reflection in the classroom.

The memo was issued following a decision by the Supreme Court that struck down an Alabama school prayer law that mandated a one-minute period of silence for meditation or prayer.

"The conclusion ... that the Constitution prohibits such a moment of silent reflection — or even silent prayer' — seems indefensible," wrote Roberts.

The memo was part of a collection of papers released by the Ronald Reagan Presidential library on Monday relating to Robert's time as a member of the White House counsel. There are, however 478 pages relating to the same material that have not been released relating to the same subject, told U.S. archivist Allen Weinstein to the Associated Press.

Despite the ruling in the Alabama prayer case, Roberts wrote in the memo that "careful analysis shows at least a majority of the justices would vote to uphold a simple moment of silence statute."

In the memo, Roberts speculated that Justice William Rehnquist had begun writing a majority opinion to uphold the law, but went too far, alienating Justices Sandra Day O'connor and Lewis Powell, who ended up voting against the law.

"Thus, as I see it, Rehnquist took a tenuous five-person majority and ... ended up losing the majority," he added.