Attorney General Chris Carr and a coalition of 22 states filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the practice of lawmaker-led prayer at public meetings.
The coalition intends filed the brief on Wednesday asking the Supreme Court to hear arguments and confirm the constitutionality of the practice. Such a decision would clear confusion among the lower courts and strike down a ruling that impacts Georgia.
“The tradition of legislative prayer dates back to our country’s founding and is a time-honored practice in Georgia,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “The amicus brief shows that lawmaker-led prayer, at both the state and local level, is fully consistent with the Constitution and our nation’s long tradition of non-coercive expressions of faith in the public sector. We have a strong interest in preserving this form of liberty.”
The coalition argues lawmaker-led prayer is woven into the fabric of American society. The practice also is fully consistent with the Constitution and our nation’s long tradition of non-coercive expressions of faith in the public sector.
The brief further cites numerous examples nationwide of states, counties and municipalities that open meetings with a government official’s prayer. It argues many governing bodies cannot afford to hire a full-time chaplain or recruit volunteer clergy.
The coalition wants the U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments in Lund v. Rowan County, a case involving a North Carolina county’s practice of opening its meetings with prayer offered by its commissioners. The multi-state coalition’s friend-of-the-court brief is filed in support of the North Carolina county and asks the Court to confirm the constitutionality of that practice. Such a decision would establish clear national precedent permitting the longstanding practice of lawmaker-led prayer.
Georgia joined this brief along with West Virginia, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin, and the Governor of Kentucky.