Doe v. Madison Sch. Dist. No. 321
In Doe v. Madison Sch. Dist. No. 321, 177 F.3d 789, 793 (9th Cir.1999) (en banc), where parents and students challenged a school district policy permitting selected students to give religious speeches or prayers during graduation ceremonies, the Court reasoned that "Doe identified no tax dollars that defendants spent solely on the graduation prayer," and that the funds used for renting a hall, printing graduation programs, buying decorations, and hiring security guards would have also been used in a graduation without prayer and thus could not support taxpayer standing. 177 F.3d at 794. In Doe v. Madison Sch. Dist. No. 321, 147 F.3d 832 (9th Cir.1998), vacated on other grounds, 177 F.3d 789 (9th Cir.1999) (en banc), the Ninth Circuit examined a graduation policy which mirrors DuvalCounty's policy in its neutrality.
The Doe policy allowed for a minimum of four student graduation speakers to be selected according to their academic standing. If a student accepted the speaking invitation, she could choose to deliver an "address, poem, reading, song, musical presentation, prayer, or any other pronouncement"-the content, of which, she alone controlled. Doe, 147 F.3d at 835.
The Doe court upheld the constitutionality of the policy against a facial challenge on Establishment Clause grounds and distinguished Lee. It explained that graduation speech does not bear the imprimatur of the state when the speaker is a student, not a cleric; the student speaker is selected on neutral and secular criteria; and the student has complete autonomy over content. Doe, 147 F.3d at 835-36.7