Thursday, December 27, 2018

9th Circuit Denies En Banc Review In School Board Prayer Case

Yesterday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied en banc review in Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education, (9th Cir., Dec. 26, 2018). In the case, a 3-judge panel applied the Lemon test to strike down a California school board's prayer policy for board meetings. (See prior posting.)  Seven active judges plus one judge holding senior status who is technically unable to vote on the rehearing petition disagreed with the denial of en banc review.  An opinion by Senior Judge O'Scannlan argued that the case should be governed by the legislative prayer precedents rather than by the Lemon test. An opinion by Judge Nelson argued that even it the Lemon test applies, no Establishment Clause violation was present. The seven dissenting active judges joined all or part of both opinions. San Francisco Chronicle reports on the denial of review.