Today is my last day as a fellow in the Legal Department at Americans United. In my two years here, I have learned an immense amount and I want to share a few insights before I go.
Americans United is supporting the students, parents, employees and community members who are asking a federal appeals court to rule unconstitutional a California school board’s practice of opening public meetings with Christian prayers and proselytizing during those meetings.
Americans United in late March filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a legislative prayer case in Michigan.
AU is supporting the case of Peter Bormuth, a Druid who opposes the policy of Jackson County Commissioners to open their meetings with exclusively Christian prayers.
A federal appeals court in March ruled a Texas school board can open its meetings with student-led prayers.
Isaiah Smith, a Birdville Independent School District graduate, and the American Humanist Association (AHA) filed a lawsuit objecting to the Haltom City-based district’s practice of having students open board meetings with invocations that are predominantly Christian and encouraging the audience to participate.
The AHA said Smith felt “isolated and excluded by the school board’s practice of promoting religion in the public sphere.”
A federal court today ruled that a legal challenge to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ legislative prayer practice can proceed.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which is sponsoring the litigation along with American Atheists, welcomed the decision in Fields v. Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Yesterday, Arizona state Rep. Athena Salman stood before her colleagues and offered an invocation. At first, it appeared to be just like any other day in the statehouse, where the House always opens its session with a prayer. But then Rep. Mark Finchem stood up, alleged that the prayer violated House rules and asked to give a substitute prayer. Finchem’s objection: Salman is an atheist and her prayer did not speak to what he understood to be a higher power.
Americans United presented arguments before a federal court Feb. 22 on behalf of a group of Pennsylvania residents and non-theist organizations that are seeking the right to offer non-theistic invocations prior to meetings of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
A federal appeals court in February ruled that a Michigan county’s policy of opening its meetings with exclusively Christian prayers was unconstitutional, a decision that will be reheard by the full appeals court.
A three-member panel of judges from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Feb. 15 ruled 2-1 in favor of Peter Bormuth, a Druid who opposed the prayer policy of Jackson County commissioners. Board members opened their meetings by personally delivering exclusively Christian prayers.
A federal appeals court today ruled that county commissioners in Jackson County, Mich., may not open their meetings by personally delivering prayers that are exclusively Christian in nature.
The case, Bormuth v. County of Jackson, was brought by a local resident who is a Druid and who opposed the prayer policy. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 in Peter Bormuth’s favor.
Americans United says the court made the right call.
A federal appeals court announced Nov. 1 that it will reconsider a ruling that allowed the Rowan County, N.C., Board of Commissioners to open its meetings with public prayers, most of which were Christian in nature.