2017 Victories: Legislative Prayer Is Constitutional | American Center for Law and Justice
  Search  |  Login  |  Register

ACLJ Profile Completion


Victory: Legislative Prayer Is Constitutional

By ACLJ.org1511293576533

This is the latest installment in a year-end series looking back at a few of the numerous victories by the ACLJ in 2017.

When a county Board of Commissioners’ legislative prayer practice was challenged as unconstitutional, the ACLJ filed a key brief leading to a U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision determining that Commissioner-led prayer does not violate the Constitution.

In this case, the Jackson County, Michigan, Board of Commissioners allowed each Commissioner, on a rotating basis, to give a brief invocation during the opening ceremonial portion of Board meetings. Even though each Commissioner is allowed to offer an invocation as dictated by his or her conscience, a Jackson resident found the prayers “offensive,” and filed a federal lawsuit.

The resident lost in trial court, but won on appeal before a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case was then reheard by the Sixth Circuit Court en banc – a hearing by all active judges rather than the usual three. In response, the ACLJ filed a crucial amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) brief supporting Jackson County and argued that its legislative prayer practice is constitutional. In a majority ruling, the Sixth Circuit agreed.

The majority’s ruling was consistent with the arguments set forth in our amicus brief. We argued that Supreme Court precedent permits the offering of sectarian prayers before legislative sessions, as is sometimes the case during the Jackson County Board meetings. We also argued that there is nothing coercive about the prayer, and that requests to participate may easily be declined without penalty.

Although this was a major victory for religious liberty in America, the Sixth Circuit’s decision will not end the battle waged by those opposed to legislative prayer. Another case from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, striking down similar commissioner-led prayers in North Carolina, has just been appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. We have just filed a critical amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to take that case and uphold legislative prayer.

With your support, the ACLJ will continue its critical defense of legislative prayer just as we have defended other forms of public prayer.

To help the ACLJ continue to have the resources we need to make these victories possible and continue these fights, please consider making a Tax-Deductible donation to the ACLJ through our year-end Matching Challenge. Your gift will be DOUBLED dollar-for-dollar through the end of the year.

You can read more in the ACLJ’s 2017 Victories series here.

Chip in today and double your impact.

Make this a monthly tax-deductible gift.

Take action with the ACLJ as we continue fighting for life and liberty. Make a tax-deductible gift today. Have your gift doubled through our Matching Challenge.

Email Address is required.
First Name is required.
Last Name is required.
Credit Card Number is required.
Verification Code is required.
Expiration Month is required.
Expiration Year is required.
Receive the latest news, updates, and contribution opportunities from ACLJ.

ACLJ Comes to Defense of Christian USAF General

By ACLJ.org1535551200000

Once again, a group notorious for wanting to keep God out of our military is attacking anyone who professes his or her Christian faith. Now this group is attacking a respected Air Force General, demanding he be investigated for expressing his Christian faith. Recently we told you how this group...

read more

ACLJ Stands on the Law In Response To MRFF Attacks

By Skip Ash1531490400000

I must confess that I am an unabashed fan of Yogi Berra. In his own inimitable way, he was a master at re-formulating the English language. He could encapsulate more common sense in one, often humorous, stream-of-consciousness quote than almost anyone I know of. My choice for today is: “It’s déjà

read more

Regulating a Couple’s Religious Use in Their Own Home?

By Abigail A. Southerland1530540000000

Many churches, religious organizations and homeowners engaged in religious activity are unaware of the federal laws that protect their religious exercise from unnecessary and burdensome zoning regulations and/or unequal treatment in the zoning process. The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized...

read more

Equating Christians in Uniform with Jihadists

By Skip Ash1527602400000

In yet another unhinged rant , Mr. Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, founder and president of the inaptly named Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), has once again claimed that the sky is falling in the U.S. military. And, once again, he has moronically equated sharing the Gospel of Jesus...

read more