Public Prayer at Government Meetings

Public Prayer at Government Meetings

After the Supreme Court marshal asks "God" to "save the United States and this honorable court," the justices heard arguments on whether prayers at government meetings violate a clause of the First Amendment. Guest host Tom Gjelten of NPR and his guests discuss the latest case before the Supreme Court.

The issue of public prayer has returned to the U. S. Supreme Court. Thirty years ago, the high court settled a case in Nebraska, ruling the state legislature could open its sessions with an invocation. Such prayers are commonplace in public meetings across the country. Yesterday, the justices heard arguments in a new prayer case: Two citizens of an upstate New York town sued to stop officials from opening its board meetings with invocations -- delivered to the assembled audience -- that almost always make reference to Christianity. At issue: whether those prayers represent a religious endorsement. Guest host Tom Gjelten of NPR and his guests discuss the latest case before the Supreme Court.

Guests

Jeffrey Rosen

president and CEO, The National Constitution Center; professor, George Washington University Law School; legal affairs editor, The New Republic; author, "The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries that Defined America" and co-editor, "Constitution 3.0."

Barry Lynn

executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and author of "Piety & Politics."

Mark Rienzi

professor of constitutional law at Catholic University of America and senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

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