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


Johnathan Summers, 25, Was Victim In Thursday Afternoon Shooting In Brainerd

Johnathan Summers, 25, was the person who was shot in Brainerd at 5000 Cameron Lane and North Moore Road on Thursday afternoon.   He was shot around 1:41 p.m. The injury was not believed to be life-threatening. He was taken to a local hospital by a friend. Chattanooga Police ask anyone with information regarding this crime to call  423-698-2525 .  The ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy Commission Rejects Tighter Controls On Liquor Stores

Several Soddy Daisy residents came to the commission meeting Thursday night asking the board to reconsider the city’s liquor ordinance going forward. One resident brought a petition with 200 signatures but without addresses, hoping to influence a change. The petition asked for parameters to be altered from the current distance specifications of two miles between liquor stores to ... (click for more)

How To Kill Small Business And Education In Chattanooga

   I would just like to say that the weathermen of Chattanooga have done something I thought only a union could do. They have undone all the economic good that VW has brought to our area. Their erroneous and hysteric forecasts are in my opinion purposefully done to benefit their corporate owners so viewers and readers flock to their felonious broadcasts and yellow ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: America’s Newest Darling

Minutes after I read a letter on Rebekah Gregory’s Facebook page yesterday, I was mere seconds from summoning the marching band, our prancing elephants, and the flag-bearers so we could rightfully induct this dazzling survivor of the Boston Marathon blast into my personal Hall of Fame. I do that, you know, when I see everyday people display courage, kindness, guts, brilliance, ... (click for more)

UTC Women Open Southern Conference Tournament With Big Win

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga sophomore Jasmine Joyner (Southaven, Tenn.) posted a double-double with a career-high 22 points and 10 rebounds and led the Mocs to a 78-44 win over UNCG Thursday afternoon at Kimmel Arena. Joyner was 9-for-10 on the day from the field and pulled down eight defensive boards. She added four blocked shots to her SoCon record for 122 on the ... (click for more)

TSSAA State Tournament Games Postponed Due To Weather

All TSSAA state basketball tournament games scheduled for today have been postponed due to extremely hazardous road conditions.  Today’s schedule will resume tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. in order to allow extra time to for road conditions to improve in the morning.   Friday’s scheduled semifinal games will be played on Saturday beginning at 1:30 p.m. due ... (click for more)