Wednesday, attorneys representing the Jackson County, Michigan, commissioners argued to protect their right to pray before their meetings in front of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The team of First Liberty Institute attorneys, led by senior counsel Ken Klukowski, the tradition of legislative invocations has been in place in America since the nation's earliest days, and the Supreme Court has also upheld the practice in two important cases:
- Marsh v. Chambers (1983), which upheld invocations by a chaplain who was an officer of the legislature and paid with public funds, and
- Town of Greece v. Galloway (2014), which upheld the ability of the town of Greece, New York, to open its town board meetings with an invocation offered by clergy.
"Legislatures at the federal, state and local levels nationwide have opened their sessions with invocations for more than two centuries, as the Supreme Court has twice recognized in upholding this widely accepted practice," Klukowski said. "Jackson County's invocations are fully consistent with the Constitution and the Supreme Court's guidance on this issue."
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners opens its meetings each month with an invocation offered by one the commissioners, which First Liberty Institute attorneys say "falls squarely within the American historical tradition of legislative invocations." The commissioners who offer invocations choose voluntarily to do so, and offer them on a rotating basis. They are free to act according to their own consciences, whether that means delivering an invocation or offering a moment of silence.
In 2013, local activist Peter Bormuth, who had attended some of the commission's meetings, sued Jackson County. Bormuth's lawsuit argued that the legislative invocations violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A federal district judge ruled in the commissioners' favor, but a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court's decision.
Now, the full 15-judge panel wants to review the case en banc. In a similar case, First Liberty also represents the commissioners of Rowan County, N.C., which was heard in March before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. If the courts issue contradictory decisions, it could lead to the Supreme Court taking up the cases.
To contact us or to submit an article, click here.
Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.
Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!
- Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
- Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
- God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
- Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
- HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!
Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details