Appeal To Uphold Prayer at Public Meetings

Posted on Aug 17, 2015 9:30am EDT

Lund v. Rowan County (No. 1:13CV207) appeared in United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina in May of 2015. In this case, the NC court ruled that Rowan County's practice of beginning legislative sessions with prayer was in violation of the First Amendment. Now, Florida and 12 other states are joining in a coalition to uphold public officials' right to conduct prayer at public meetings.

Why the Federal Appeal Matters

The appeal is one of the most important elements of the justice system. It allows a higher appellate court to hear a court ruling and effectively determine whether justice was rightly served. In the history of U.S. legislation, state and federal appeals have been crucial in groundbreaking legislation.

In civil and criminal disputes, the appeal is an effective way to correct miscarriages of justice. It's not uncommon for an error to occur in the justice system—appellate attorneys devote their entire legal practice to representing individuals in federal and state appeals cases when these mistakes occur.

What's At Stake in This Case?

If the Fourth Circuit court upholds the court's ruling to require public meeting prayers to be conducted by a member of the public, it could carry some consequences for Rowan County government. The 13 states that filed for amicus curiae (friend of the court) argue that the court ruling places unnecessary hardship on local governments that may not be able to afford hiring a chaplain or clergyman.

That is why these states urge the appellate court to uphold the right of public officials to conduct prayer at public meetings. An appellate decision in this case is expected to appear sometime next year. Depending on whether the Fourth Circuit court upholds the decision or overturns the decision and upholds the right to prayer, the case could move on to a higher appellate court.

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