One attorney doesn't think legislators should worry about a complaint that's been made about the West Virginia House of Delegates having an invocation before members began their work.
The complaint was made by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which sent a letter to legislators outlining its concerns about the legislative invocation given before the West Virginia House of Delegates on February 12, 2020.
"For some reason, these activists just simply cannot abide by the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States has not once, but twice agreed that prayer before public meetings is part of a longstanding history and tradition in our country," says attorney Jeremy Dys of First Liberty Institute, a Texas-based law firm. "It is perfectly constitutional, even when those prayers are sectarian in nature."
First Liberty Institute says as much in a letter of its own to West Virginia legislators.
This is not the first time that complaints have been made about invocations before legislative meetings, and Dys doubts it will be the last.
"I find it remarkable, as a matter of fact, that these complaints that are now being sent are not citing case law," says Dys. "They are simply citing and asserting a subjective standard that legislative prayers are somehow divisive and inappropriate."
He says that is a "pretty rough standard to uphold in court," especially when dozens of Supreme Court cases and other case law on the matter make it perfectly clear that this is a tradition that is dear to our republic and consistent with the First Amendment.