(Washington, DC) - The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which filed an amicus brief backing the town of Greece, New York in its decision to invite speakers to offer a prayer before its meetings, today applauded a Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of prayer at government meetings.
“This is a sound decision that recognizes the significance of our nation's heritage and tradition,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, which filed an amicus brief in the case. “This important victory underscores what have argued from the beginning: the prayer in this case is constitutionally protected speech.”
In a 5-4 decision, the high court concluded: “The prayer opportunity is evaluated against the backdrop of a historical practice showing that prayer has become part of the Nation's heritage and tradition,” the majority wrote in the opinion. “It is presumed that the reasonable observer is acquainted with this tradition and understands that its purposes are to lend gravity to public proceedings and to acknowledge the place religion holds in the lives of many private citizens.”
The majority justices further argued that the intended audience “is not the public, but the lawmakers themselves.”
Today’s decision overturns an appeals court ruling that held the town’s decision to open its monthly meetings with prayer was unconstitutional.