Board of County Commissioners

David H. Roush, President
Richard S. Rothschild, Vice President
Robin Bartlett Frazier, Secretary
Doug Howard
Haven N. Shoemaker, Jr.

Carroll County Government

225 North Center Street
Westminster, Maryland 21157
410-386-2043; 1-888-302-8978
fax 410-386-2485
MD Relay 711/800-735-2258

ACCESSIBILITY NOTICE: The Americans with Disabilities Act applies to the Carroll County Government and its programs, services,
activities, and facilities. Anyone requiring an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or who has a complaint should contact
Madeline M. Morey, The Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator, 410.386.3800, 1.888.302.8978, MD Relay 7-1-1/1.800.735.2258 or
email as soon as possible but no later than 72 hours before the scheduled event.

Contact: Roberta Windham

Supreme Court Decides New York Prayer Case
Federal District Court Judge Lifts Injunction

Westminster, Monday, May 05, 2014 – Today the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in
the legislative prayer case Town of Greece V. Galloway. In a 5 to 4 decision the justices agreed with
the town of Greece that their practice of legislative prayer before their monthly meetings did not
violate the First Amendment of the Constitution. The Court held that the Constitution does not require
the content of legislative prayers to be nonsectarian.

“The First Amendment is not a majority rule, and government may not seek to define permissible
categories of religious speech. Once it invites prayer into the public sphere, government must permit a
prayer giver to address his or her own God or gods as conscience dictates, unfettered by what an
administrator or judge considers to be nonsectarian,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy in the Court’s
majority opinion.

The Galloway decision is of particular interest to Carroll County since several citizens filed suit last
year in Federal District Court alleging the Commissioners’ practice of opening their meetings with a
legislative prayer violated the First Amendment. Recently, United States District Judge William D.
Quarles enjoined the county from using sectarian language while praying, bound by what was at the
time controlling precedent by a federal Appeals court. The Commissioners are deeply gratified that
Judge Quarles lifted the injunction prohibiting sectarian prayers shortly after today’s Supreme Court
decision, recognizing that the Justices have jettisoned the appellate precedent that previously
weighed in the Plaintiff’s favor. There are remaining issues in the case against Carroll County,
including a potential contempt finding, which are still before the court and cannot be commented on

The Board is very pleased with the Galloway decision and expects to obtain a similar judgment before
the Federal District Court.

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