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U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Rules in Favor of Invocations

Court affirms commissioners’ practice of participating in over two-hundred-year-old tradition of invocations before government meetings.

September 6, 2017

CINCINNATI, Ohio—The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit sitting en banc affirmed the decision of a federal district court judge and ruled today that the Board of Commissioners in Jackson County, Michigan—represented by First Liberty Institute—may open its meetings with invocations. The commissioners offer invocations on a rotating basis and are free to act according to their own consciences by delivering either an invocation or offering a moment of silence.

“Today’s decision further solidifies what the U.S. Supreme Court has now twice said: Invocations before government meetings are constitutional and an important part of our nation’s history and heritage,” said Ken Klukowski, Senior Counsel at First Liberty.

In Marsh v. Chambers (1983) and Town of Greece v. Galloway (2014), the U.S. Supreme Court found invocations before government meetings to be fully consistent with the Constitution and an important part of America’s history and heritage.

First Liberty also represents the commissioners of Rowan County, North Carolina (Lund v. Rowan County), whose case was heard en banc in March 2017 before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In July, the Fourth Circuit ruled against the Rowan County commissioners in a split 10-5 vote. First Liberty is currently considering an appeal of the Rowan County decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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First Liberty Institute is a non-profit public interest law firm and the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

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