A federal court is being asked to dismiss the lawsuit against a Texas justice of the peace who allows chaplains to pray in his courtroom.
Judge Wayne Mack, who serves in Montgomery County, is being sued by a local resident who says the prayer violates separation of church and state.
Mack is represented by First Liberty Institute, which has joined with Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, to seek a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
FLI attorney Chelsea Youman says the prayers are handled through an interfaith chaplaincy program.
"It's a volunteer chaplaincy program," she says. "It's an effort to honor the chaplains who are on call at all hours of the day and night in the cases of death calls that are made to show up with anyone who requests a chaplain to help comfort them while they grieve."
Paxton, says Youman, issued an opinion last year when the complaint was filed suggesting that the chaplains' prayers are a constitutional practice.
"The Supreme Court and the Texas Supreme Court both open their courtroom sessions with a brief prayer and invocation as does our state legislation and U.S. Congress," Youman points out.