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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ind. Decisions - More on: 7th Circuit denies rehearing in legislative prayer case

Updating yesterday's ILB entry on the 7th Circuit's vote to deny rehearing of its decision in Hinrichs v. Speaker House Rep IN, the legislative prayer case, the AP reports today:

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined yesterday to reconsider a ruling that threw out a lawsuit challenging sectarian prayers in the Indiana House.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana had asked the full court to rehear the case after a three-judge panel ruled 2-1 in October that taxpayers who sued over the prayers do not have the legal standing to do so.

House Minority Leader Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said yesterday's ruling meant the House could resume its normal prayer practice, which in the past has sometimes included mention of Jesus Christ.

But Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana, said that wasn't true because the ruling was based on the litigants' standing, not on the merits of the case.

"I would hope that the House doesn't somehow think that this is a validation of the prayer practices," Falk said.

The ACLU likely would file a new lawsuit, he said, with plaintiffs who come into contact with the prayers and who therefore might have legal standing, if the former practices resume.

From a story by Kevin O'Neal in today's Indianapolis Star:
While Tuesday’s ruling effectively ended the suit against the House, it did not decide the issue. Individuals could make complaints against the House prayer, and that could be the basis of another lawsuit. Falk said he is leaning toward that option and said several people were interested in participating, as opposed to appealing the current lawsuit.
For background, see this long list of earlier ILB entries.

And see particularly this Oct. 30, 2007 ILB summary of the 7th Circuit's dismissal of the suit "for want of jurisidction." It is this ruling that the Court yesterday refused to rehear.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 16, 2008 07:33 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions