Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

February 25, 2013

Court Rulings Differ on Public Meeting Prayers

Past court cases may determine how the courts would rule in a lawsuit over the Rapid City Council's invocation.

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Black Hills Knowledge Network

Past court cases may determine how the courts would rule in a lawsuit over the Rapid City Council's invocation.However, recent legal opinions on the issue vary. Marsh v. Chambers (1983) is the starting point for discussion on public meeting prayer. In it, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Nebraska legislature opening sessions with prayer. Lower court rulings since then have interpreted the law to place restrictions on the content of prayer; in Joyner v. Forsyth County (2011) (cited by the Freedom From Religion Foundation) the 4th Circuit Appeals Court ruled against the County Board of Commissioners for having explicitly Christian prayer.

The Rapid City Journal summarizes these and other relevant court cases. More on stories involving the city council can be found in the archives.

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