U.S. Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Forsyth County Prayer Case

Ken AshfordConstitution, Godstuff, Local Interest, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

Good local First Amendment news:

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a North Carolina county commission over the mostly Christian prayers offered at the beginning of its public meetings.

The justices on Tuesday left in place a federal appeals court ruling that held that the predominantly Christian prayers at the start of Forsyth County commission meetings violated the First Amendment's prohibition on government endorsement of a particular religion.

The commission said its doors have long been open to religious leaders of many faiths. But the appeals court in Richmond, Va., found that more than three-quarters of the 33 invocations given before meetings between May 2007 and December 2008 referred to "Jesus," "Jesus Christ," "Christ" or "Savior."

Here's the lower court opinion from last year (PDF) saying that Forsyth County's mostly-Christian prayers are unconstitutional.