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



Signal Mountain Man Charged In Shooting

A Signal Mountain has been charged after a shooting near the 3100 block of Highway 127 in Sequatchie County on Friday night. Stewart Luttrell, 31, was charged with aggravated assault. Deputies found a man who was shot in the side. Luttrell was then located in a wooded area. The shooting victim was in stable condition. Luttrell was taken to the Sequatchie ... (click for more)

Man Shot During Robbery On Rawlings Street

A man was shot in an early morning robbery on Rawlings Street on Saturday.   Chattanooga Police responded at 1:10 a.m. to the 2100 block of Rawlings Street.   Officers were called to a local hospital on reports of a victim arriving who was suffering from a gunshot wound.   The victim, 38-year-old Maurice Flanagan, advised that he was approached ... (click for more)

Mayor Invites Civil War II - And Response (12)

I just received an email from the Mayor stating that he filed paperwork to remove the city of Chattanooga as the trustee for the Confederate Cemetery on Third Street. I understand the Mayor's intent was to distance the city from it's racist past and subsequent hate, but I feel like this is an interesting move without much thought of the consequences. The Mayor prefaced his ... (click for more)

Berke Plan To Solve Discrimination Is To Kick Dead Veterans To The Curb

Racism and discrimination is wrong. What is the best way for a parent to teach a child the evils of discrimination? Should the parent demonstrate and repetitively incentivize the proper behavior? Or, would it be more productive to badger the child over and over again for the sins of the child's g-g-g-grandfather who died 150 years ago? Would burning the personal effects of the grandfather ... (click for more)

Ty Boeck Scores Three TDs As Soddy Daisy Wins 35-32

Justin Barnes had a tough time wiping the smile off of his face late Friday night at Soddy Daisy’s Robert Talaska Field. His Trojans had just picked up a 35-32 victory over arch-rival Red Bank in a non-district game, but he’s been involved in three of these games as a player and now five as a coach.  He won all three as Red Bank’s quarterback before graduating in 1999 and ... (click for more)

Defending Champ Farragut Clips Bears 27-21 In OT

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Farragut has one of the nation’s top-rated senior tight ends in the country and the Admirals weren’t shy about utilizing their primary offensive weapon against Bradley Central on Friday night at Bear Stadium. Jacob Warren, the super-talented 6-foot-6, 226-pound receiver caught four touchdown passes that included the game-winner in the Admirals’ 27-21 overtime ... (click for more)