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Federal Court Ruling Supports Religious Freedom, Strikes Down Florida County’s Prayer Practice

Over the weekend, a federal court struck down a Florida county’s practice of denying atheists, humanists and other non-theists the opportunity to offer invocations at the start of the county commission’s meetings.

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida ruled the policy of Brevard County’s Board of County Commissioners to allow only monotheistic, overwhelmingly Christian invocations violated both the U.S. and Florida Constitutions – namely by the government showing favoritism for certain faiths.

Federal Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of Mich. County’s Prayer Practice

The full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Sept. 6 that a Michigan county’s policy of having its county commissioners open their meetings by delivering exclusively Christian prayers was constitutional.

The appeals court of 15 judges voted 9-6 to reverse an earlier decision of a three-judge panel that had ruled in favor of Jackson County resident Peter Bormuth. Bormuth had argued that, as a member of a minority faith who attends the commission meetings, Jackson County’s prayer policy violated his First Amend­ment rights.

Appeals Court Strikes Down N.C. County’s Meeting Prayer Practices

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down a North Carolina county’s practice of opening its meetings with overwhelmingly Christian prayers.

In a 10-5 ruling issued July 14, the appeals court’s majority found the Rowan County Commissioners’ invocations to be unconstitutional because the commissioners gave the prayers themselves and directed audience members to participate.  From 2007-13, 97 percent of the prayers were Christian.

AU Attorneys Will Defend Religious Freedom In Two Federal Appeals Courts This Week

It will be a busy week for Americans United attorneys as they crisscross the country to stand up for religious freedom before federal appeals courts in two distinct cases.

Today, AU Legal Fellow Andrew Nellis will be in Seattle to tell the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals why it was unconstitutional for a high school football coach in Washington State to pray with students on the football field at the end of football games.

Entire Federal Appeals Court To Rehear Case Of Christian Prayers At Mich. County Meetings

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.