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Indiana joins fight for National Day of Prayer

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Indiana has joined the fight to reverse the holding by U.S. District Court in the Western District of Wisconsin that the federal law providing for a National Day of Prayer violates the Establishment Clause.

The amicus brief before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, authored by the Texas Attorney General and others, argues the ruling calls into question the traditional state practice of issuing proclamations acknowledging their residents may choose to pray together during difficult times, and state proclamations issued in conjunction with the National Day of Prayer.

The brief also says that providing for a day of prayer is constitutional because the law doesn’t require the engagement in any religious activity of any kind by any person or governmental body. It also calls into question whether the ruling by the Wisconsin District Court finds Memorial Day to be unconstitutional as well because it was originally enacted as a day for people to pray for peace. The National Day of Prayer statute was enacted in 1952.

Indiana is one of 29 states that signed the Texas amicus brief. Other nearby state signers include Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio.

The suit was filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation - a Madison, Wisc.-based group working for separation of church and state - against President Barack Obama and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, challenging the authority of the president to designate the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer. Judge Barbara B. Crabb ruled in April that 36 U.S.C. Section 119 is unconstitutional.

“I understand that many may disagree with that conclusion and some may even view it as a criticism of prayer or those who pray. That is unfortunate,” she wrote in the opinion. “A determination that the government may not endorse a religious message is not a determination that the message itself is harmful, unimportant or undeserving of dissemination. Rather, it is part of the effort to ‘carry out the Founders' plan of preserving religious liberty to the fullest extent possible in a pluralistic society.” McCreary County, 545 U.S. at 882 (O'Connor, J., concurring).’”

Oral arguments in the appeal have not been set, according to the court docket.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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