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SC Attorney General praises SCOTUS prayer ruling - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

SC Attorney General praises SCOTUS prayer ruling

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WASHINGTON, DC (WCSC/AP) - South Carolina's attorney general issued a statement supporting the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday that prayers opening town council meetings do not violate the Constitution, even if they routinely stress Christianity.

Attorney General Alan Wilson submitted an amicus brief supporting the town of Greece, New York, which was the focus of the lawsuit the high court reviewed. The court used that brief in its decision, according to Mark Powell, communications director for the Attorney General's Office.

“I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the First Amendment right of every American to pray, including at the start of government meetings. This decision provides much-needed clarity for public officials, and upholds a fundamental principle of the Constitution – which is one’s freedom to seek higher counsel when debating policies at the local, state and federal levels of government,” Wilson said in the statement.

An amicus brief is also known as a "friend of the court brief," and allows someone who is not a specific party to the case to offer a legal opinion on the case's broader implications.

A federal appeals court in New York ruled that Greece violated the Constitution by opening nearly every meeting over an 11-year span with prayers that stressed Christianity, according to an Associated Press report.

The court said in 5-4 decision that the content of the prayers is not significant as long as they do not denigrate non-Christians or proselytize, the AP reported.

Copyright 2014 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.
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