County Commission Opening Prayers To Continue - For Now - Under Judge Mattice Order Denying Preliminary Injunction

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Federal Judge Sandy Mattice, in a 37-page ruling released Wednesday morning, denied a motion for a preliminary injunction blocking opening prayers at the Hamilton County Commission meetings.

Judge Mattice set an Oct. 2 hearing in which to schedule trial of the case on its merits.

He said in the ruling the County Commission had several options on the prayer issue and "The Commission has chosen the fourth of these four options, and it is entirely within its rights to do so. However, in so choosing, it has assumed – on its own behalf and on behalf of the citizens and taxpayers of Hamilton County – the responsibility of ensuring that its policy is implemented in a manner that respects both the rights of its citizens and the commands of the First Amendment. Whether it will actually effect its policy in such a fashion has yet to be seen."

Tommy Coleman and Brandon Jones had sued the county to try to stop the prayers, saying they promoted the Christian religion.

The commission afterward adopted a policy of rotating area ministers on a first come-first serve basis for the prayers.

Judge Mattice said, "This case presents a unique question, the legal underpinnings of which the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has yet to address."

He said, "The Court cannot say that Hamilton County’s prayer policy, on its face, violates the Establishment Clause. It appears to the Court that, at least as written, the policy strives for neutrality. The policy specifically states it is not intended to “proselytize or advance any particular faith, or show any purposeful preference of one religious view to the exclusion of others."

Here is the full opinion

http://www.tned.uscourts.gov/docs/112cv190.pdf


Corker’s Bipartisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act Becomes Law

Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after the president signed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 into law. The bill, which passed the Senate 98 to 1 and the House of Representatives 400 to 25, requires congressional review of any final nuclear agreement with Iran before the president can waive sanctions ... (click for more)

Varnell Man, Cohutta Woman Were Among Victims When Truck Went Out Of Control On Freeway Near Savannah

Jerry Earnest, 71, of Varnell, Ga., and 72-year-old Glenda Adams of Cohutta, Ga., were among the victims when a tractor-trailer went out of control on a busy freeway near Savannah, Ga., on Tuesday. The semi hit two cars before bursting into flames on I-16. Three other people were killed. Authorities said the driver may have fallen asleep. Seven vehicles were damaged in ... (click for more)

Don't Make A Mockery Of Memorial Day - And Response

We're told Memorial Day is the day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order that we, as Americans and others around the world, might live free, unshackled (invisible or otherwise) and without oppression. But how is that so when so many in America continue to be denied those freedoms? Others whose family and friends made the ultimate sacrifice? Their surviving families ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Chincoteague Mourns ‘Dude’

In the span of a person’s life, there are some things that simply can’t be explained to be totally understood. And of all the spectacles I have ever personally witnessed, one of the best is that day in late July when they “pen the ponies” at Chincoteague Island, Va. I’m serious. Over 50,000 people watch every year as volunteer “Saltwater Cowboys” swim the wild ponies to the mainland ... (click for more)

Baylor Beats GPS 6-4 For D-II Softball Title

MURFREESBORO – Oh, what a difference a year makes. The GPS Bruisers came through the losers bracket a year ago and beat Baylor twice after losing the first five times they played, but those two were the biggest as it gave the team in blue a state D-II softball championship. The situation was similar a year later, but the results a bit different as the Lady Red Raiders beat ... (click for more)

Baylor To Face GPS Again For D-II State Softball Title

MURFREESBORO – It will be another Baylor-GPS battle for the championship in Division II softball as Baylor advanced with a 10-3 win over St. Benedict while GPS later beat the Lady Eagles by a 2-0 final for the right to face the Lady Red Raiders again. This year’s D-II tournament was similar to last year as Baylor beat GPS on the first day before the Bruisers came back and beat ... (click for more)