The Attorney For Freedom Show with host Attorney Marc J. Victor. Our guest on the show this week is Larry Pratt- Executive Director of Gun Owners of America. Listen in as we discuss where we have been, where we are, and where we are heading in gun ownership and our rights to keep and bear arms. As well as guns, we will also cover North Korea and other news stories.
There is a disturbing trend developing in First Amendment jurisprudence; especially in the area of church and state separation. Notwithstanding the fact that many state sponsored or endorsed religious actions appear to clearly violate the well established parameters of the First Amendment, courts are now routinely dismissing lawsuits for lack of standing. To be clear, these dismissals do not involve a rejection of the constitutional challenge on the merits of the claim. To the contrary, they are simply evasions of the issue altogether. They are technical dismissals resulting in the untenable position that these First Amendment violations are simply unchallengeable by any person. Rather than hear these challenges on the merits and reach the inescapable conclusion that such actions are indeed unconstitutional, many courts have agreed to side step the issue by construing the doctrine of standing so such unconstitutional acts remain safe from constitutional challenge. Courts should be bold enough to hear and decide these challenges on constitutional grounds. Constitutional protections are meaningless if courts construe the law such that no person can invoke those protections.
In an effort to attempt to have these matters heard on the merits and to validate the notion that constitutional violations can be challenged, our clients have decided to appeal the district court’s dismissal of the Day of Prayer lawsuit. We expect to file an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal very soon. Additionally, another lawsuit will be filed in the state court alleging violations of the state constitution.
This lawsuit is about the role of government. Our clients remain committed to the notion that prayer is either a private matter or one that can be openly and loudly promoted by any private individual or private company on any private property for any length of time. Any effort by government to inhibit any private person’s right to pray on any non-governmental property would be opposed by all plaintiffs to this lawsuit. However, our clients, those religious and non-religious, remain equally committed to the well established notion that government should neither promote, inhibit nor endorse any religious view. Simply put, government should stay out of religious matters altogether; our constitution forbids it and it is both consistent and indispensible to notions of a free and open society.
Lawyer: Federal, state constitutional provisions violated:
PHOENIX – A lawsuit says Arizona has no business in prayer but Governor Jan Brewer says, “This lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt to drive religious expression from the public square. I will fight it vigorously.”
The people behind a lawsuit filed in court on Tuesday claims Gov. Brewer violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution when she declared May 6 the Arizona Day of Prayer.
“I’m not looking to keep anybody from exercising their religion. They can believe in whatever they want. That’s fine. Just don’t get the state involved and don’t push it on me,” Mike Wasdin said. He is one of the four plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit with the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
Wasdin says, “I’m a freedom-minded person. This is more about freedom than religion with me. I don’t like the government telling people, like myself, what to do.”
3TV spoke to the governor in downtown Phoenix at the faith-based Cityfest event. She told the crowd, “What a beautiful day the Lord has made. This is what Arizona is all about.”
She tells 3TV she will see them in court. “Well, I think it’s a little bit of a frivolous lawsuit. Of course, the majority of Americans, the majority of Arizonans all support… it’s been a sort of tradition in America, if you will.”
3TV received a mixed reaction from Arizona residents.
Christina Cousins points out that nobody would be forced to pray, “If you don’t want to pray, fine. It’s like today, St. Patty’s Day. If you don’t want to celebrate St. Patty’s Day, then don’t. If you don’t want to pray on the day of prayer, then don’t.”
Elita Irving is all for prayer but feels this the holiday would breach separation of church and state. “I wouldn’t say I am strongly against it, just because the intentions are so good but, on a principal and ideological level, I don’t think it’s good.”
The Freedom from Religion Foundation was successful on a federal level challenging the National Day of Prayer. A U.S. District Judge ruled it unconstitutional.
Wasdin feels they have a strong case, “The same people that are upset that we have filed this lawsuit…how would they feel if we decided to enact a day of non-belief, of non-prayer? Would those same people join us and support us? I don’t think so.”
That federal case is being appealed.
According to the Freedom from Religion Foundation, 17 percent of Arizona residents consider themselves non-religious.