Attorney General Leslie Rutledge part of a 22-state coalition that filed brief defending legislative prayer

LITTLE ROCK – The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld the constitutionality of legislative prayer after Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and a 22-state coalition filed a brief in support of Jackson County, Michigan and their tradition of beginning board meetings with a prayer.

“Today’s decision from the 6th Circuit will have an important impact on religious freedom, not only in Michigan but across the United States,” said Rutledge. “The practice of legislative prayer has routinely included lawmaker-led prayer and this decision allows lawmakers to continue exercising their own guaranteed religious liberty.”

In 2013, a self-proclaimed pagan objected to the tradition of opening the board meetings with prayer and filed a lawsuit. A district court rejected the challenge, but a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit ruled 2-to-1 in February that the prayers by various commissioners during meetings violated the First Amendment. In March, the full circuit asked to rehear the case.