SCOTUS: Legislative Prayer Protected in Town of Greece, SLF Brief

5/5/2014: Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) today commended the decision by the Supreme Court of the United States in reversing the Second Circuit decision in the Town of Greece, NY v. Galloway, et al. (12-696) case. SLF filed an amicus brief in the case in support of the Town of Greece.

The case turned on whether legislative prayer offered by local clergy who are predominantly Christian violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The majority held that the practice of the Town of Greece has been consistent with the practices of Congress and state legislatures since the founding of the nation, and that the prayers offered need not be strictly nonsectarian in nature because to compel that would put legislatures and the courts in the position of supervising and censoring religious speech, which would involve the government in religious matters to a far greater degree than is the case in the Town’s current practice.

Today’s Supreme Court decision affirms important long-held constitutional principles protecting religious free speech in the legislative setting. The Court today has properly determined that a court challenge against legislative prayer based only on the prayer’s content will not likely establish a violation of constitutional rights. The healthy balance struck in the Town of Greece provides a good example for government decision-making bodies across America.

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