TOWN OF GREECE v. GALLOWAY

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
12-696
Petitioner 
Town of Greece, NY
Respondent 
Susan Galloway et al.
Advocates
(for the petitioner)
(Deputy Solicitor General, Department of Justice, for the United States as amicus curiae for the petitioner)
(for the respondents)
Term:
Facts of the Case 

The town of Greece, New York, is governed by a five-member town board that conducts official business at monthly public meetings. Starting in 1999, the town meetings began with a prayer given by an invited member of the local clergy. The town did not adopt any policy regarding who may lead the prayer or its content, but in practice, Christian clergy members delivered the vast majority of the prayers at the town’s invitation. In 2007, Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens complained about the town’s prayer practices, after which there was some increase in the denominations represented.

In February 2008, Galloway and Stephens sued the town and John Auberger, in his official capacity as Town Supervisor, and argued that the town’s practices violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by preferring Christianity over other faiths. The district court found in favor of the town and held that the plaintiffs failed to present credible evidence that there was intentional seclusion of non-Christian faiths. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed and held that the practices violated the Establishment Clause by showing a clear preference for Christian prayers.

Question 

Does the invocation of prayer at a legislative session violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment even in the absence of discrimination in the selection of prayer-givers and content?

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TOWN OF GREECE v. GALLOWAY. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 07 April 2014. <http://holmes.oyez.org/node/86737>.
TOWN OF GREECE v. GALLOWAY, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://holmes.oyez.org/node/86737 (last visited April 7, 2014).
"TOWN OF GREECE v. GALLOWAY," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed April 7, 2014, http://holmes.oyez.org/node/86737.