Judge rules National Day of Prayer unconstitutional

And the forces of religious reaction are already planning an appeal. News on the ruling and great background information here. There's been a great cast of characters in the establishment of the NDoP, including Strom Thurmond, Ronald Reagan, Billy Graham and Pat Robertson's father.


Billy Graham around the time the National Day of Prayer became law. (I think he looks a lot like James Arness from Gunsmoke)


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I think this ruling was exceptional.

Question: who would appeal? Obama? He was the named defendant, correct? Will Obama actually appeal this ruling? When you say "the forces of religious reaction" are already planning an appeal...who are you referring to and do they even have the right to appeal?
When the case was filed in 2008, it was Bush who was named in the suit. Now that Obama is president, it's his name there instead. It is actually up to the Justice Department whether an appeal will be filed. That being said, there is no question that one will be filed. It's too hot an issue for the administration to drop at the district court level. Groups like the ACLJ do not have the standing to file their own appeal but will join the case as amici curiae as they did at the district level.
Why is it up to the Justice Department? Sorry....I'm truly just trying to understand the situation. Is the Justice Department part of the case? Are they listed as a defendant?

Next question: once it is appealed, do you think the higher courts will uphold the decision?
One more thing: Will it automatically go to the 7th circuit, or could it end up going straight to SCOTUS?
It's up to the Justice Department because, among their other duties, they're the attorneys for POTUS and the administration.

As to your other question, after the District Court, a case would go to one of the eleven geographically-based US Courts of Appeal. In the case of Wisconsin, that's the 7th Court. Only after a judgement is made there can it be appealed to the highest court, SCOTUS.
//It's up to the Justice Department because, among their other duties, they're the attorneys for POTUS and the administration.//

Ah, got it. Now it makes sense. I wasn't thinking about it that way.
The Justice Department are not the Potus' attorneys - he has his own attorneys. This was the contention in the Bush administration in that he was using the Justice Department as his de facto personal attorneys.
Although the AG is part of the POTUS' cabinet he does not act in the POTUS behalf.
Wow, that puts my faith in Judges a little higher. :)
The Jewish people have several holidays, if Xians really need one, they should just make their own. And then we point and laugh. Simple.
Clearly the ruling is correct, but I'm not entirely sure that this won't backfire horrifically. This ruling will be spun by the religious right as an attempt by secularists to denigrate prayer, which will do further damage to the image of nonreligious people in this country. Further, why is it that the FFRF chooses to spend its limited resources in this way? Surely there are more positive ways it could promote its agenda? This seems to me a blunt and insensitive approach that may well do as much harm as good.
Yeah Jim, why don't we just stick our tails between our legs and run scared from the religious whackos who already have too much influence in this country?
It's James, please, never Jim.

This was not my point, as any fair reader will realize. Rather, it is a question of resources - given limited resources, which actions will do the most good, and which are not worth pursuing at present? To use resources inefficiently, or even worse, in a way which damages the cause of nonreligious people in America, is as reprehensible as not fighting the battles that need to be fought.

The money and person-power that went into fighting this suit could have been spent on educational programs, advertisements, aid programs, service opportunities etc. all of which might advance our cause more effectively. We have a responsibility to consider this instead of crowing mindlessly over every victory.
One thing to consider though James, is how high-profile cases like this bring in the donations and build the base. That too is an effective way to advance the cause. In many ways, it's a far more effective tool than spending it on educational programs, etc. That kind of stuff doesn't go viral the way something as controversial as this does. Once it goes viral, other people are doing your publicity for free. Sure, not all publicity is positive but even negative things will still be seen by people who will be sympathetic and would otherwise never have heard of the FFRF or any of the other church/state separation groups that joined the case. Additionally, even a victory at a lower court level shows people that winning is possible and encourages them.

On balance, I'd say this is a winning strategy even if the decision get overturned later.




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