WASHINGTON, June 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Family Research Council (FRC) and 13 Members of Congress submitted a brief of amicus curiae in the case Atheists of Florida v. City of Lakeland at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The brief argues that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals should throw out the case because it lacks jurisdiction to take it.
The case involves a Lakeland city commission meeting. Atheists of Florida filed a lawsuit to prevent vocal prayer at the start of each of the commission's meetings. City officials had been inviting clergy from various religions and denominations to offer the invocation, consistent with an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling allowing prayer in public meetings.
Of the case, Ken Klukowski, J.D., director of FRC's Center for Religious Liberty, said:
"Prayers are offered before the opening of every session of Congress, and also open virtually every state legislature and local governmental body meeting as well. This practice began early in our Republic's history. Those Americans who adopted the First Amendment understood that it did not prohibit the very prayers that began their deliberations.
"Prayers during public meetings do not violate the Establishment Clause. The Supreme Court has settled that issue, consistent with American law and history.
"Where a court has no jurisdiction, it has no constitutional power to declare the law. That is the case in Atheists of Florida v. City of Lakeland. Therefore, the Court of Appeals should vacate the lower court's judgment and dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction.
"If the Court decides to take the case, the Lakeland city commission has acted in accordance with the Constitution, and the city should retain the ability to allow prayer at the beginning of meetings.
"We thank Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) for taking the lead on this important case, along with the other Members of Congress who joined us in filing this brief."
To read FRC's amicus brief in the case, click here: http://www.frc.org/legalbrief/amicus-brief-atheists-of-florida-v-city-of-lakeland
SOURCE Family Research Council