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Monday, July 17, 2017

Appellate Court Rules Government Officials Opening Meetings With Prayer Is Unconstitutional

RICHMOND, VA — The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a 10-5 decision on Friday ruling that Rowan County, N.C., county commissioners cannot begin official sessions with prayer, the First Liberty Institute announced following the decision. First Liberty represents the county and expressed disappointment that the court ignored precedent in the Supreme Court’s Town of Greece v. Galloway decision that deemed an opening prayer for legislative bodies acceptable under the Constitution.
“While we are disappointed in the Fourth Circuit’s decision to ban invocations before legislative meetings contrary to Supreme Court precedent, we are encouraged that the split in the vote on the Fourth Circuit demonstrates the need for the Supreme Court review on this issue,” Mike Berry, deputy general counsel for First Liberty, said.
First Liberty is also representing Jackson County, Michigan in a similar case that is currently pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Writing in dissent, Circuit Judge G. Steven Agee pointed out that opening prayer for legislative bodies holds across the country, from the federal to local governments. READ MORE