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National Review: The Supreme Court has been pondering for a long time what to do with the pending petition to review Elmbrook School District v. Doe. In Elmbrook, a Milwaukee-area high school decided to hold its graduation ceremony at a large nondenominational church because the school’s cramped gymnasium with no air conditioning lacked adequate space for those coming to see the graduation. Although the graduation contained no religious activity at all, activists still sued the school district, claiming that the mere presence of a cross on the church’s stage rendered the facility constitutionally toxic for the public school event. The Seventh Circuit, sitting en banc, agreed.
Alliance Defending Freedom: Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter Wednesday to local governments and organizations affirming the legality of public invocations in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Town of Greece v. Galloway upholding the freedom of Americans to pray according to their own beliefs at public meetings.
Legal Talk Network: David Cortman discusses Greece v. Galloway with Douglas Laycock on the Lawyer 2 Lawyer podcast.
The Sylva Herald: The town of Dillsboro will open board meetings with Christian prayers delivered by local clergymen following a divided Supreme Court ruling earlier this month that clears the way for invocations.
Mike Gallagher interviews Joel Oster about the Town of Greece v. Galloway decision that happened earlier this week.
National Law Journal: For citizens against the prayers, the decision sets dangerous church-state precedent. For the town of Greece, court’s ruling is a victory for religious freedom.
National Review: Jordan Lorence, senior counsel with ADF, discusses the implications of Town of Greece v. Galloway.
One News Now: A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision has sent New York churches back to court over use of public school property.
NRB: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week in a 5-4 decision that the Town of Greece (a suburb of Rochester, NY) had not violated the Constitution by its practice of beginning town meetings with a public prayer.
Alliance Defending Freedom: Please join me in giving heartfelt thanks for this crucial decision, for the far-reaching impact it will have in so many other cases around the country, and for the important legal precedent it sets to secure religious freedom for you and your family and for people of faith throughout America.
Georgeene Rice interviews ADF Senior Counsel Brett Harvey about the Town of Greece v. Galloway decision that happened earlier this week.
ADF Media: ADF letter filed with 2nd Circuit cites ‘Town of Greece v. Galloway’ as support for re-evaluating ‘Bronx’ decision.
Alliance Defending Freedom: Here are 7 things you need to know about ‘Town of Greece v. Galloway.’
The SCOTUS Blog held something of a symposium yesterday, offering up five opinions on the Town of Greece v. Galloway decision. I’ll highlight the key sections of each opinion here.
Albert Mohler: In a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled yesterday that prayer before the opening of a legislative body does not violate the U. S. Constitution.
Vicki McKenna interviews Joel Oster about the Town of Greece v. Galloway decision that happened earlier this week.
Rob Schilling interviews ADF Senior Counsel Brett Harvey about the Town of Greece v. Galloway decision that happened earlier this week.
Larry O’Connor interviews ADF Senior Counsel Brett Harvey about the Town of Greece v. Galloway decision that happened earlier this week.
Relevant Radio’s Drew Mariani interviews ADF Senior Counsel Brett Harvey about the Town of Greece v. Galloway decision that happened earlier this week.
The World and Everything In It: An interview with Brett Harvey regarding the ‘Town of Greece v. Galloway’ decision.
National Review: An interview with ADF’s Brett Harvey regarding the Town of Greece Supreme Court ruling from earlier this week.
The Kelly File, Fox News. Video, 5:52 mins.
ADF Media: The Supreme Court on Monday decided to affirm the freedom of Americans to pray according to their own beliefs at public meetings
ADF Media: The Supreme Court on Monday decided to affirm the freedom of Americans to pray according to their own beliefs at public meetings
Religion News: “The U.S. Supreme Court will soon rule on the constitutionality of prayer at public meetings. But a new survey finds U.S. voters clearly favor prayer – as long the public prayer is generic and not specifically Christian.”
NY town awaiting Supreme Court decision on prayers continues to pray before meetings | Christian Post
Christian Post: “David Cortman, senior counsel at ADF, said in a statement released last August that ‘Americans today should be as free as the Founders were to pray.’”
The Independent (Massillon, OH): “The Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian organization helping to defend the Town of Greece, doesn’t think so. ‘Community members should have the freedom to pray without being censored,’ according to ADF senior counsel David Cortman.”
Associated Press: “A ruling could come any day now on whether the town violated the Constitution with its opening prayers because nearly every one in an 11-year span was overtly Christian. This month’s was no exception – a Baptist minister delivering a head-bowed, eyes-closed, 40-second invocation.”
Marie Griffith interviews Judge Guido Calabresi, Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, at Religion and Politics: “What we faced first was the question of whether beginning town meetings with prayer was allowed. Much of the press on this case acted as if our answer was no; our case says the opposite. It says absolutely! What we are asking is: how can you do that without defining a town as being Christian, Judeo-Christian, Abrahamic? And that is a very difficult issue. Judge Wilkinson, Harvie Wilkinson of the Fourth Circuit, said—and, interestingly, caused no fuss at all—you can only do it if a prayer is non-sectarian. We took the position that a non-sectarian prayer is either a contradiction in terms or is an establishment.”
Silence is Golden: Moments of Silence, Legislative Prayers, and the Establishment Clause | Northwestern University Law Review
Segall, Eric, Silence is Golden: Moments of Silence, Legislative Prayers, and the Establishment Clause (2014). Northwestern University Law Review Online, Vol. 108, 2014. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2407683
“The Supreme Court heard arguments this Term in Town of Greece v. Galloway, a significant constitutional case in which the parties presented two very different views of the what the Establishment Clause requires in the public square.”
UPI: “Nothing is closer to the hearts of people in the United States than local politics and prayer, usually Christian prayer. The U.S. Supreme Court may be about to rule on how closely the two can be combined. . . . The six Catholics and three Jews on the U.S. Supreme Court should be ruling on the issue soon. They heard argument in the case, Town of Greece vs. Galloway, Nov. 6, and a decision should be ready to drop soon, like ripe fruit.”
Religion Clause Blog has posted its “Top 10 Church-State and Religious Liberty Developments in 2013.” The Alliance Defending Freedom has been directly involved in 8 of the 10 items mentioned and in many instances has played a leading role.
Terry Eastland at Weekly Standard: Dr. Brian Lee is pastor of Christ Reformed Church, a small church in downtown Washington, D.C., which he founded six years ago. Lee knows something about a topic not ordinarily discussed at his church, that of “legislative prayer.” As we’ll see, he has his doubts about it.
Constitution Daily: The controversy over a public display in Florida that features a Nativity scene and a Festivus pole has taken a new turn, after an application from satanic followers was denied by a state official.
How will the court resolve the “problem” of sectarian legislative prayer? | Scott Gaylord at Constitution Daily
Scott Gaylord at Constitution Daily: Scott W. Gaylord from Elon University argues that there are four reasons why the Supreme Court will rule in favor of the Town of Greece in next year’s big public prayer decision.
Joe Infranco on NE Family Alliance Radio to discuss the Town of Greece legislative prayer case pending at the U.S. Supreme Court. The audio aired in four segements from Nov. 12-15, 2013. | Installment 1 MP3 audio 2:29 mins (Nov. 12) | Installment 2 MP3 audio 2:29 mins (Nov. 13) | Installment 3 MP3 audio 2:29 mins (Nov. 14) | Installment 4 MP3 audio 2:29 mins (Nov. 15) | Alliance Defending Freedom information page
Nate Kellum at Christian Post: Should a clergy’s prayers be subject to censorship if given to solemnize a public meeting? A powerful atheist group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU), thinks so, and has convinced a federal appellate court to enforce this sort of oversight. But the question is now squarely before the U.S. Supreme Court, having heard oral arguments earlier this month.
The World: The City of Coos Bay is waiting to make a decision on the fate of the Vietnam War Memorial in Mingus Park until its involvement in a federal case is resolved. The city announced Thursday afternoon that the Supreme Court’s decision in Town of Greece v. Galloway, the case involving the First Amendment’s establishment clause, must happen before the Coos Bay city council resumes discussions regarding the memorial’s status.
Mirror of Justice: We tried to be fairly complete in our discussion of the case, and I hope that this podcast might be particularly useful for students and others interested in an introduction to the issue of legislative prayer and in some fairly detailed analysis of and commentary about the oral argument.
NorthJersey.com: It’s an issue that has bedeviled American communities for decades: Does God belong in government? North Jersey’s elected officials tackled that question last week as they awaited a U.S. Supreme Court decision on secular prayers at town meetings.
Craig Parshall at Christian Post: When Justices Breyer and Kagan (and I would surmise a few others on the Court as well) indicate that “peace and harmony” is the goal, then we can predict, ironically, that a very un-peaceful assault on faith will result.
Faith Radio with Bob Crittendon: Kevin Theriot, Vice-President of Religious Liberty for the Alliance Defending Freedom, analyzed oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Town of Greece v. Galloway case, which deals with prayer before public governmental meetings. The ADF website is www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org. | Alliance Alert Archived MP3 audio 18:41 mins
Marci Hamilton at Justicia: There may have been a time, before mass immigration from all over the world, when it was not incoherent to talk about “nonsectarian” prayer as being monotheistic prayer (assuming that you set aside all of the Native American believers who predated the Europeans). The religious make-up of most of the country, once again, discounting the Native Americans, was Christian or Jewish. Those days are long gone, and never were the halcyon days of the unified prayer advocated by the Alliance Defending Freedom representing the town, as Massachusetts Puritans killed Quakers and Baptists for their beliefs, Pennsylvania Quakers forbade non-Quakers from holding office, and early American governments and people treated the Indians as non-citizens who had no rights – See more at: http://verdict.justia.com/2013/11/14/really-one-issue-town-greece-v-galloway#sthash.L5fZWtaW.dpuf
Barry Lynn at Washington Post: Americans United for Separation of Church and State has represented two courageous women from Greece, N.Y., since 2007 when they came to us for advice about how to deal with their town board, which began all of its monthly business meetings with a Christian prayer.
David Cortman of Alliance Defending Freedom and Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State appeared on Armstrong & Getty to discuss Town of Greece v. Galloway. | MP3 audio 11:24 mins
Washington Times: Atheists interrupted a planned prayer vigil on the steps of the Supreme Court during the Town of Greece v. Galloway case last week, as they argued prayer has no place in public service.
History isn’t the only test. Are we true to the Constitution? | David Cortman on WIBX 950 with Bill Keeler
LifeSiteNews: The ADF says that at stake in the case are the continuation of the public prayer tradition that began with America’s founding, the freedom of community volunteers to pray according to their own faith in a public setting without government censorship, and the preservation of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. “Community members should have the freedom to pray without being censored,” said David A. Cortman, senior counsel and vice president of litigation with Alliance Defending Freedom.
Wall Street Journal (via Google): In his dissenting opinion in 1989′s County of Allegheny v. ACLU, Justice Kennedy wrote that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was intended to protect against religious coercion by the government, not to protect against religion. Even the Obama Administration argued last week in support of allowing such prayers to continue.
Janet Parshall at Christian Post: The two plaintiffs won at the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals level but Alliance Defending Freedom, representing the city, asked the Supreme Court to take the case, and they did.
The Economist: Instead, Mr Laycock argued that the prayers were coercive: audience members who are not naturally inclined to worship risk ruffling the feathers of town-board members by refusing to participate in the prayer.
Ben Kinchlow at WorldNetDaily: “[T]he continuance of public prayer and the public acknowledgment of God is in jeopardy, literally, not figuratively … our friends at the legal group Alliance Defending Freedom are arguing the case Town of Greece v. Galloway before the U. S. Supreme Court. The Court will then decide whether or not public prayer will be allowed to continue in America.
NRB: Greece, a suburb of Rochester, NY, was represented by a team including Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) counsel in appealing the ruling of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which agreed with the Americans United for Separation of Church and State and its clients that the Town of Greece had violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause with its opening prayers. The Justices appeared to grapple with interest over the foundation for such legislative prayer and worries over government interference. A ruling is expected next year. | Find a transcript of these oral arguments before the Supreme Court. | Watch ADF’s assessment of the oral arguments from the Supreme Court steps.
Rochester Business Journal: In your view, should prayer be a part of government meetings? Yes: 52% No: 48% In the town of Greece case, whose position do you support? Town of Greece: 51% The two residents who challenged the Town Board’s prayer practice: 42% Don’t know: 7% . . . . To quote Mike Johnson of the Alliance Defense Fund: “Our country’s Founding Fathers opened their meetings with prayer. Those who oppose Christian invocations are essentially arguing that the Founders were violating the Constitution as they were writing it.” It shouldn’t surprise us when men seek to ban the very practice that can help them. Since the 1960s, our country has been running headlong under the banner of calling good evil and evil good.
Ken Klukowksi at Breitbart: The town is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which recruited top Supreme Court litigator Thomas Hungar to argue the case. Hungar began by noting how much of an easier case this was compared to the Court’s 1983 Marsh case from Nebraska: “Nebraska had one chaplain from one [Christian] denomination for 16 years, and yet that was constitutionally permissible, and his prayers were not distinguishable in content from the prayers at issue here.”
Brian Resnick at National Journal: Is there 1 prayer to make Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Polytheists, Wiccans, and Devil Worshippers all happy?
Jesse Wegman at NY Times: It’s easy enough to be in favor of a “nonsectarian” prayer before a legislative session — some invocation of a higher power that theoretically doesn’t exclude anyone (besides atheists, that is) — but what exactly does such a prayer sound like? That was Justice Samuel Alito’s question . . .
The World and Everything In It with Nick Eicher (audio): Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Vice-President-Legal Doug Napier discusses the details of a case facing the U.S. Supreme Court that deals with the question of whether it is unconstitutional for a town council to open meetings with prayer.
Supreme Court Argument: Public Prayer at Government Meetings | Brett Harvey on EWTN Nightly News – Video
Tom Strode at Baptist Press: Jordan Lorence, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, said Kennedy — who may be the swing vote again between the court’s conservative and liberal coalitions — “seemed disinclined to have government people editing prayers.” “And there seemed to be a majority of the justices that were bothered by that, as well as prayers that are too specific,” Lorence told BP after sitting in on the oral arguments. “[T]here are all sorts of things that go on as public events at a city council meeting that could be offensive to people,” Lorence said. “I think the solution is teaching people how to be more tolerant of other views, not saying you have a constitutional right to sanitize the corridor you walk down from anything offensive. And I think we have a majority [on the court] that is going to go the right way on this case.”
Joan Biskupic at Reuters: When the U.S. Supreme Court talks about religion, all hell breaks loose.
Supreme Court to Hear Argument Over Town Hall Prayers Predominantly in Jesus’ Name | Christian News Net
Christian News Net: Greece officials, represented by the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), then appealed the ruling to the United States Supreme Court, requesting intervention in the matter. “Community members should have the freedom to pray without being censored,” stated Senior Counsel David Cortman. “Opening meetings with prayer is a cherished freedom that the authors of the Constitution practiced. Americans shouldn’t be forced to forfeit this freedom just to appease someone who claims to be offended by hearing a prayer.”
The Transcript of oral arguements is here.
AP: The tenor of the argument indicated the justices would not agree with the appellate ruling. But it was not clear what decision they might come to instead.
AL.com: The Freedom from Religion Foundation has threatened a lawsuit against the Madison County Commission for organized prayer at its meetings. The group also challenged prayer walks at Cullman County Schools.
Deseret News: “We think the principles of religious freedom and tolerance or religious expression in appropriate settings … should continue to exist,” Hungar said. The Supreme Court could reach an alternate decision, Hungar said. The option would still allow Greece to have invocations at its meetings but with restrictions. For example, a prayer-giver could refer to God, but otherwise couldn’t refer to anything specific that could offend people of different religions, Hungar said. Another alternative, Hungar said, would be for the court to mandate an invocation of “a civic religion,” which would allow the invocation to occur but not mention God or any specific type of God.
Joe Infranco at Alliance Defending Freedom: One of the underlying issues will be the claim that someone who hears a prayer in a public setting has participated in it. And if that person has been forced to pray merely by hearing a prayer, this amounts to improper government coercion. Analyzing the argument in this way is challenging (among other problems) because it involves someone’s subjective feelings . . . Here is another way to consider the question: If directly after the prayer, a citizen addressed the city council officials, would merely hearing them argue for a playground repair mean the hearers were forced to participate in that speech or agree with their viewpoint?