Courts & the Law, News

All 15 judges on U.S. Court of Appeals to hear Rowan County prayer case tomorrow

All 15 judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will hear a case tomorrow in Richmond, Va., about the Rowan County Board of Commissioners’ current prayer policy.

The process is referred to as en banc review. It was granted in response to the ACLU of North Carolina asking the federal court to reconsider after a 2-1 ruling in September that reversed a U.S. District Court decision holding that the county’s state sponsored prayers violated the Constitution.

“Our clients simply want to ensure that when they and others attend local government meetings, they will not have to worry about being coerced into participating in a sectarian prayer that goes against their beliefs and being discriminated against by local officials when they don’t,” said ACLU of North Carolina Legal Director Chris Brook. “We believe that the First Amendment is on our side, and we look forward to making our argument to the full appeals court.”

At the current Rowan County Board meetings, the chairman directs the public to stand for the invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance, the meeting is called to order and then there is another invocation or prayer, according to the ACLU’s court filing.

The majority of prayers are Christian, according to the document.

You can read more about the case here. NC Policy Watch will report the outcome of the en banc review.

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