Judge Doesn't Want Moment of Silence on His Plate

March 20, 2008

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Illinois' moment of silence law is in the hands of a federal judge - but he wants to pass the buck.

Federal Judge Robert Gettleman oversees the case of a girl who sued to end the moment of silence. He's on the verge of making all Illinois school districts part of the case, and that could be costly.

Gettleman says the issue might evaporate if Springfield would make the moment voluntary and clearer. There's a law that would do that, but it's in the hands of the moment of silence's chief supporter—state senator Kimberly Lightford.

LIGHTFORD: I'd like for it to remove the connotation of silent of prayer, and replace that language with silent meditation. If that's the uncomfort that people are feeling, I have no problem with changing that, but I do plan on allowing it to remain mandatory.

Lightford says the moment of silence legislation should move forward in a few weeks. That's just when the judge is expected to expand the case.

I'm Shawn Allee, Chicago Public Radio.