Supreme Court Considers Hearing Legislative Prayer Issue

The United States Supreme Court is considering whether to hear a case regarding legislative prayer that would resolve a federal court of appeals circuit split. The case, Lund v. Rowan County addresses whether the Establishment Clause is violated when legislative prayers are offered exclusively by members of a local legislative body. As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Supreme Court upheld the right of a legislative body to have sectarian payers at their public meetings in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway. Rowan County deals with whether an otherwise appropriate sectarian prayer can solely be offered by legislators.

While the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ultimately found on July 14, 2017, that the Establishment Clause was violated in Rowan County, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided the opposite in a very similar case, Bormuth v. Jackson County, on September 6, 2017. Given the split, the Supreme Court may decide to hear the Rowan County case to provide clarity on the issue.

Useful Links

US Court of Appeals Opinion in Lund v. Rowan County

US Court of Appeals Opinion in Bormuth v. Jackson County

Conduit Street Article on Town of Greece v. Galloway Case