A.G. Jeff Landry fights for First Amendment rights
By Cori Phelps
As we watch religious freedoms challenged across our nation, it’s encouraging and praiseworthy to note our own leaders in Baton Rouge are fighting to preserve our rights to praise God how and when we choose, and linking arms with others nationwide.
One such instance is regarding the decision that legislative prayers led by county commissioners at public meetings do not violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, affirmed the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who filed a brief in support of preserving this aspect of religious freedom, praised the court’s ruling.
“This is a victory for religious freedom, and I applaud the court for its decision,” said General Landry. “I am proud to have played a part in this affirmation of religious liberty being a fundamental right of all Americans.”
By a 9-6 vote on Bormuth v. Jackson County, the Sixth Circuit ruled that county commissioners in Jackson, Michigan did not violate the Establishment Clause by opening their public meetings with a prayer.
“From the days when States had established religions, to the period both before and after the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, to the present day—lawmakers have led prayers at the state and local levels,” explained General Landry. “And the governing Establishment Clause test recognizes that prayer practices that have stood the test of time are constitutionally permissible.”
General Landry joined an amicus brief in support of Jackson County with Attorneys General from Michigan, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia. The court cited this brief several times and called it helpful.
“As Louisiana’s chief legal officer—I will continue to do all that I legally can to protect the First Amendment rights of our State’s people, in private or in the public square,” concluded General Landry. “I will keep defending the Constitutional right to exercise our beliefs in schools, outside abortion clinics, or wherever the people of our State wish to practice their religion.”
*Source: Office of AG Landry; Press Release, 9/8/17, “Federal Court of Appeals Affirms Right to Public Prayer.”