Colorado Supreme Court Throws Out Lawsuit Challenging National Day of Prayer Proclamations

Prayers Over Bible pdDENVER — The Colorado Supreme Court has thrown out a lawsuit by a professing atheist organization that challenged proclamations in recognition of the National Day of Prayer, overturning a lower court ruling that declared such proclamations unconstitutional.

As previously reported, in 2008, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sued then-Governor Bill Ritter for “showing governmental preference for religion” by issuing the Day of Prayer designation, asserting that in doing so, Ritter violated the Religious Freedom Clause of the Colorado Constitution.

In 2010, a district court ruled against FFRF, stating that it found no constitutional infringement.

“Plaintiffs argue that the proclamations excessively entangle government and religion because it facilitates the Colorado Day of Prayer festivities. In light of the fact that most festivities are planned well in advance of the proclamation’s issuance, this argument is not credible,” wrote Judge Michael Mullins. “Announcing that people will in fact gather to celebrate a public holiday does not necessarily involve the state in any way in the planning of religious activities.”

However, FFRF then appealed the case to the Colorado Court of Appeals, which overturned Mullins’ ruling.

“[The proclamations] encourage Colorado’s citizens to ‘unite’ with those who believe in God and pray to God for the benefit of our country, our state, our leaders, and our people. In so stating, they reflect an official belief in a God who answers prayers,” the three-judge panel wrote. “At the same time, for those who do not believe in such a God, the proclamations tend to indicate that their nonbelief is not shared by the government that rules the State. In doing so, they undermine the premise that the government serves believers and nonbelievers equally.”

The state then filed an appeal with the Colorado Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case. Other legal groups, such as Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) soon joined in, asking the court to look to notable Supreme Court rulings, which cited that even the Founding Fathers engaged in legislative prayer, and that the Establishment Clause evidently was not written for such incidents.

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On Tuesday, the court ruled 5-2 that the Freedom from Religion Foundation had no standing to challenge the prayer proclamations, opining that the group failed to show any harm caused by the governor’s call to prayer.

“Although we do not question the sincerity of respondents’ feelings, without more, their circuitous exposure to the honorary proclamations and concomitant belief that the proclamations expressed the Governor’s preference for religion is simply too indirect and incidental an injury to confer individual standing,” wrote Chief Justice Nancy Rice.

“To hold otherwise would render the injury-in-fact requirement superfluous, as any person who learned of a government action through the media and felt politically marginalized as a result of that secondhand media exposure would have individual standing to sue the government,” she stated.

Colorado’s Attorney General-elect, Cynthia Coffman, praised the decision, stating that it allows government officials to continue to freely acknowledge God.

“This decision by the state’s high court means that like the president of the United States and other governors around the country, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and future Colorado governors are free to issue honorary proclamations without fear of being tied up in court by special interest groups,” she said. “It was the correct ruling by the justices after careful consideration of the issues.”

ADF Senior Counsel Michael Norton agreed.

“Public officials remain free to issue such proclamations in the years ahead just as the founders of our country and the state of Colorado were free to do,” he said. “This is a freedom not only rooted in our history; it is a constitutionally protected freedom clearly recognized in both state and federal courts.”

Throughout America’s early history, a number of the Founding Fathers issued proclamations calling inhabitants to prayer, including in 1798, when President John Adams proclaimed a national day of humiliation, prayer and fasting.

“As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him,” he wrote, “…this duty, at all times incumbent, is so especially in seasons of difficulty and of danger, when existing or threatening calamities—the just judgments of God against prevalent iniquity—are a loud call to repentance and reformation.”


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  • James Grimes

    The Useless have to eat their own words with the Supreme Court’s ruling. I hope they taste good.

  • James Grimes

    Here is a somewhat related topic – a message entitled “Access to God” by Rev. Richard D. Phillips. It is 36 minutes long as is very good. http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=11231410381110

  • Carol Cantell Moorby

    http://www.wallbuilders.com tells it all! The truth of our origins and roots through God and the bible. Obama cancelled our national day of prayer and replaced it with the Muslim national day of prayer . Time to restore OUR National Day of prayer. When I was in elementary school we started each day with prayer. The worst punishable thing when I was in school was when we got caught chewing gum. In these days it’s shooting and killing people in our schools. See the dangers when we kicked out God and the bible! We need to bring our nation back to God and the bible . Share this site with everyone…I’m sure many will be shocked when they read the truth. Our school text books have been lies for years. Twisted historical facts and many OMISSIONS have deceived our generations and must be retaught ?Agree?

  • Carol Cantell Moorby

    just to,add….because of ignorance and atheistic teachings most people will argue that we are NOT a Christian nation and our founding fathers were not believers in God or the bible but most of our previous presidents believed in and quoted our bible People today twist the scriptures and constitutional doctrines especially the ” separation of church and state. Nowhere does it say separation of God and state Think about it.

  • AlgernonMoncrief

    THE COLORADO SUPREME COURT . . . “POLITICIANS IN BLACK ROBES.” (AS IT TURNS OUT.)

    “Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority,” Bacon.

    For decades I refused to believe it, but it is now incontrovertibly established. The Colorado Supreme Court is indisputably a political actor. Our Colorado Supreme Court exists to serve Colorado political parties. At present, the Colorado Supreme Court is more rightly considered an adjunct of the Colorado Legislative Branch, than a check on the Colorado Legislative Branch. Rather than “truth-seeking,” the Colorado Supreme Court now sees its role as “political-outcome seeking.” Litigants successfully use the Colorado Supreme Court to achieve political purposes. In the Ralph Carr Justice Center, rather than meeting impartial guardians of the law, litigants meet their political allies on the bench.

    “I think there are many who think of judges as politicians in robes. In many states, that’s what they are.” “They seem to think judges should be a reflex of the popular will.”

    Sandra Day O’Connor

    The Colorado Supreme Court has accepted its role as a political tool, and recognizes no constitutional limits on the authority of the
    Colorado Legislative and Executive branches.

    In this article, I provide an example of the political and partisan role of the Colorado Supreme Court. I describe a case in which the Colorado Supreme Court summarily erases billions of dollars of debt owed by Colorado state and local governments. That is, one branch of Colorado state government relieves another branch of Colorado government of its legal debts.

    The case involves Colorado statutory contracts that create financial obligations on the part of Colorado governments. Over decades, political considerations induced the Colorado Legislature to mismanage the financial obligations. In recent years, the terms of these statutory contracts were deemed politically inconvenient and politically unpopular. The Legislative Branch asked the Colorado Supreme Court to discard the contracts.

    In 2010, the Colorado Legislative Branch requested that the Colorado Supreme Court grant this political favor by ignoring the Contract Clause of the US Constitution, ignoring the history of legislative mismanagement of these state financial obligations, and relieving Colorado governments of their accrued legal debts. No trial, no discovery, billions of dollars seized by the state.

    In granting this political favor, sanctioning the breach of Colorado PERA pension contracts, the Colorado Supreme Court was forced to ignore its own long-standing case law precedent, the court failed to conduct a “contract analysis,” the court ignored evidence of Colorado PERA’s attorneys stating that the pension benefit was indeed a Colorado PERA contractual obligation, the court ignored the bill (SB10-001) sponsor’s testimony that the pension benefit was in fact a Colorado PERA contractual obligation, the court ignored recorded legislative history of the contractual nature of the public pension benefit, the court failed to engage in the “heightened scrutiny” of the abandonment of state financial obligations required under federal case law (US Trust) and finally, the court embraced a discredited Denver District Court decision that did not bother to mention Colorado’s on-point public pension case law. In the United States, political connections can be used to quash legal investigations of banking fraud, and political connections can be used to summarily erase billions of dollars of government debt.

    In this article, I address the Colorado Supreme Court’s lack of independence, integrity, and impartiality. I provide a brief history of the efforts of the Colorado Legislature and the Colorado Supreme Court to escape Colorado governmental financial obligations. I comment on the recent (October, 2014) Colorado Supreme Court Decision itself, which summarily erased these billions of dollars of Colorado public sector debt. I highlight some of the numerous factual and logical errors that exist in the Colorado Supreme Court’s Decision in the case. I express incredulity at the Colorado Supreme Court’s willful ignorance of public pension administration, knowledge that was necessary to any court claiming to “seek truth” in the case.

    Does it surprise you that we do not have the “rule of law” in Colorado? I was very surprised to learn this. I believed that the Colorado Supreme Court judges were beyond political influence. I believed that they would examine all evidence and give weight to legal precedents set by former judges on the Colorado Supreme Court. I was wrong. It turns out that “corruption” exists in government to the same extent it exists in the private sector. No trial, no discovery, government forgives its own debts, billions of dollars seized.

    The Colorado Judiciary had an obligation to ensure that all evidence in the case was examined prior to breaking Colorado PERA pension contracts. They ruled in ignorance. This ignorance may have been willful. Rather than honoring their debts, Colorado PERA-affiliated governments will now inflate away that debt courtesy Colorado Supreme Court.

    My intent in writing this article is to enhance the public record of, and further document, what I consider to be one of the greatest “crimes” in Colorado history.

    Scripta manent, verba volant.

    On October 20, 2014, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Colorado PERA pensioners have no contractual right to their public pension COLA benefits. Yet, here we have documentation of Colorado PERA’s own lawyers acknowledging Colorado PERA’s contractual obligation to pay the PERA COLA as recently as 2009.

    December 16, 2009

    Colorado PERA officials in written testimony to the Joint Budget Committee: “The General Assembly cannot decrease the COLA (absent actuarial necessity) because it is part of the contractual obligations that accrue under a pension plan protected under the Colorado Constitution Article II, Section 11 and the United States Constitution Article 1, Section 10 for vested contractual rights.”

    http://www.kentlambert.com/Files/PERA_JBC_Hearing_Responses-12-16-2009_Final.pdf

    Discover the true nature of Colorado state government at saveperacola.com.

    Read the complete article at http://coloradopols.com/diary/64487/the-colorado-supreme-court-politicians-in-black-robes-as-it-turns-out