Monday, May 20, 2013

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari In City Council Invocation Case

The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to weigh in on the extensively litigated issue of opening city council meetings with prayer.  It granted certiorari in Town of Greece, NY v. Galloway, (Docket No. 12-696, cert. granted 5/20/2013). (Order List). In the case, the 2nd Circuit created an extremely fact-dependent test for determining the constitutionality of opening meetings of legislative bodies (here the town board) with prayer. It concluded that in this case, "an objective, reasonable person would believe that the town’s prayer practice had the effect of affiliating the town with Christianity." (See prior posting.) Scotus Blog's case page has links to all the certiorari stage briefs. The town's petition for certiorari framed the question presented as: "Whether the court of appeals erred in holding that a legislative prayer practice violates the Establishment Clause notwithstanding the absence of discrimination in the selection of prayer-givers or forbidden exploitation of the prayer opportunity."