Legal Analyst Coffey: Public Prayer 'Consistent With Constitution'

Thursday, 08 May 2014 08:08 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The Supreme Court's decision this week to uphold the rights of town councils to open meetings with a prayer is not a surprise, according to legal analyst Kendall Coffey.

"[It's] not earthshaking in the sense that the court in the '80s upheld an opening prayer in the Nebraska legislature," Coffey told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"Justice [Anthony] Kennedy, who's clearly the deciding vote on this, [believes] if something is ceremonial, if it's intended to invoke the solemnity of the occasion as opposed to religious advocacy … that's consistent with our Constitution."

Coffey — a founding member of Coffey Burlington, PL, in Miami — said that's because the nation's Founding Fathers did not attempt to erase any mention of God or religion.

"To the contrary, they viewed an acceptance of God as part of public life. So Kennedy and his colleagues are certainly about where our Founding Fathers were and in that sense it's not a decision that should be surprising to anybody," he said.

"[There were] four very fervent dissents, but we can assume that as long as Kennedy is there and is that fifth deciding vote … and you don't see religious advocacy … [the belief is] it is part of what our republic was founded on."



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