Judge: Moment-of-silence law unconstitutional - Chicago Breaking News A federal judge in Chicago ruled today that a state law mandating a moment of silence in Illinois public schools is unconstitutional. The judge, Robert W. Gettleman of the U.S. District Court, had put the Illinois law on hold last May while he considered the case filed by an atheist on behalf of his daughter. Critics of the law, including the American Civil Liberties Union, contended the law amounted to a government endorsement of religion. "Students remain free to pray on their own, in a non-disruptive manner, throughout the school day," ACLU lawyer Adam Schwartz said in a statement. "As Judge Gettleman recognized in his decision, public school students in Illinois do not require the permission of the General Assembly to engage in this constitutionally protected activity. "