Arizona Day of Prayer

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit on Arizona Day of Prayer

 

There is a disturbing trend developing in First Amendment jurisprudence; especially in the area of church and state separation.  Notwithstanding the fact that many state sponsored or endorsed religious actions appear to clearly violate the well established parameters of the First Amendment, courts are now routinely dismissing lawsuits for lack of standing.  To be clear, these dismissals do not involve a rejection of the constitutional challenge on the merits of the claim.  To the contrary, they are simply evasions of the issue altogether.  They are technical dismissals resulting in the untenable position that these First Amendment violations are simply unchallengeable by any person.  Rather than hear these challenges on the merits and reach the inescapable conclusion that such actions are indeed unconstitutional, many courts have agreed to side step the issue by construing the doctrine of standing so such unconstitutional acts remain safe from constitutional challenge. Courts should be bold enough to hear and decide these challenges on constitutional grounds.  Constitutional protections are meaningless if courts construe the law such that no person can invoke those protections.

 

In an effort to attempt to have these matters heard on the merits and to validate the notion that constitutional violations can be challenged, our clients have decided to appeal the district court’s dismissal of the Day of Prayer lawsuit.  We expect to file an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal very soon.  Additionally, another lawsuit will be filed in the state court alleging violations of the state constitution.

 

This lawsuit is about the role of government.  Our clients remain committed to the notion that prayer is either a private matter or one that can be openly and loudly promoted by any private individual or private company on any private property for any length of time.  Any effort by government to inhibit any private person’s right to pray on any non-governmental property would be opposed by all plaintiffs to this lawsuit.  However, our clients, those religious and non-religious, remain equally committed to the well established notion that government should neither promote, inhibit nor endorse any religious view.  Simply put, government should stay out of religious matters altogether; our constitution forbids it and it is both consistent and indispensible to notions of a free and open society.

3 thoughts on “Arizona Day of Prayer

  1. Does this in any way endorse one reigion over another? In no way does it hinder the free exercise of religion.
    Would it be better to call it a “Day of prayer and reflection”?
    What is the harm?

  2. Hello, thanks for your comment.

    The problem with Ms. Brewer doing this is she is doing so in her capacity as Governor, not as private citizen Jan Brewer. Anyone including Ms. Brewer has the right to pray or set aside as much time as they choose to do so. The problem is when governments start declaring “Days of Prayer” as this clearly is unconstitutional and should be challenged.

    The founders of this country were very clear on what roles the government should take and separated government from religion for a reason. Government should take no role either way in religion, but rather stay out of it completely unless someones rights to practice their religion has been violated.

    My clients (and especially myself) would bring a lawsuit against the government if they were trying to declare a “Day of Non-Prayer” as well, as this would also be a violation as well.

    For the record this lawsuit was filed be people of faith and non-faith alike.

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