A group of mostly Republican lawmakers in DC has made a pitch to the Supreme Court for the right to keep saying a daily prayer before sessions of the House and Senate, reports Roll Call. They're worried that an upcoming case out of upstate New York will put the practice in jeopardy. The legal fight began when residents of Greece sued their town board for opening its meetings with a Christian prayer. A federal appeals court sided with the residents, declaring that while "the town’s desire to mark the solemnity of its proceedings with a prayer is understandable," some constitutional worries arise "when one creed dominates others."
No date has been set for the Supreme Court arguments, but members of the House and Senate filed amicus briefs this week. A sample from the one in the Senate:
- “The work of the Senate is often divisive. But for a few moments each morning, politics and party are set aside. Instead of debate, senators reflect on their duty to represent every constituent, mindful of the Nation’s core values and their need for divine assistance in carrying out their responsibilities."
It was signed by 34 senators, 33 of whom were Republican, notes Salon
. (Louisiana's Mary Landrieu was the lone Democrat.) The House brief
had a similar sentiment, citing "longstanding and historically-accepted acknowledgements of the Divine and expressions of religious faith in this nation." Click for more