Thursday, December 02, 2021

Breaking: US Department of Justice allegedly funded Transcendental Meditation "Quiet Time" program in Chicago

A filing today in the ongoing Federal court case against the Chicago Board of Education, the David Lynch Foundation, and the University of Chicago disclosed that, during the course of discovery, the Board of Education informed the plaintiffs that the Department of Justice, and not any of the other named defendants, financed the so-called "Quiet Time" program as part of a supposed research project involving Chicago public schools.

Northern District of Illinois courtroom.
(Library of Congress photo)

This means that, according to this filing by the plaintiffs, the teaching of TM was directly financed by the US government, a clear violation of the separation of church and state.

The "religious nature" of TM was established in the late 1970's in Malnak v. Yogi, which was upheld on appeal in the Third Circuit. Technically this decision is binding only in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania, but such opinions are often cited as being persuasive in other Federal courts; Malnak has been cited over sixty times in other cases involving church/state matters.

Apparently this disclosure will likely result in the US Department of Justice being added to the list of defendants in this case.

Quoting from today's filing:

Plaintiffs Amontae Williams and Darryl Williams (“Plaintiffs”), by their attorneys, Mauck & Baker, LLC, move this Court to extend the deadline three weeks to amend pleadings and add parties, and in support states as follows:

1. On September 2, 2021, this Court set December 3, 2021, as the deadline for amended pleadings and adding parties;

2. In discovery from the Board, the Plaintiffs recently learned that the Department of Justice, rather than any of the defendants, funded the Quiet Time program;

3. Upon learning of the Department’s involvement, Plaintiffs filed Freedom of Information Act requests on November 18, 2021, and are imminently submitting subpoenas to the Department of Justice regarding grant applications and other matters relating to their funding of the Quiet Time program. The Department has not yet responded;

4. The University of Chicago and David Lynch Foundation have yet to provide to the Plaintiffs their discovery responses. The Plaintiffs agreed not to oppose their motion to extend their December 2 response deadline to December 9, 2021.

5. To be accurate in their pleadings and name necessary parties, the Plaintiffs need at a minimum to see the University’s and the Foundation’s discovery responses and the Department’s responses to the subpoena and FOIA requests.

WHEREFORE, the Plaintiffs move this Honorable Court for a three week extension to amend their pleadings and add parties, which would be December 24, 2021.

Link to copy of the plaintiff's motion

Previous coverage of the Chicago case

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