Friday, August 09, 2013

U.S. Amicus Brief In Supreme Court Supports Town's Invocation Policy

Some two dozen amicus briefs in support of the Town of Greece, New York's prayer policy have been filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in Galloway v. Town of Greece. The case is scheduled to be argued this term.  (Amicus briefs in support of plaintiffs challenging the policy are not yet due.) Among the most interesting of the briefs supporting the town is the one filed by the Solicitor General on behalf of the United States. (Full text.) In the brief filed Aug. 2, the SG argues that legislative prayer which does not proselytize, disparage any religion or advance a particular faith does not violate the Establishment Clause "merely because most prayer-givers are Christian and many or most of their prayers contain sectarian references." The brief adds: "Neither federal courts nor legislative bodies are well suited to police the content of such prayers." The Second Circuit held that the town's invocation practices convey the impression that it is endorsing Christianity. (See prior posting.)