Joyner v. Forsyth County

Last modified 2011.09.15


  • Status Closed
  • Type Counsel
  • Court U.S. Court of Appeals, U.S. District Court
  • Issues Discrimination in Name of Religion, Government-Supported Religion, Nontheist, Atheist, Humanist, Official Prayer, Religious and Racial Equality, Why People of Faith Support Church-State Separation

For years, the Forsyth County Board of Supervisors invited local clergy to deliver sectarian prayers at Board meetings; most of the prayers were Christian.

In March 2007, Americans United and the ACLU of North Carolina challenged the Board’s prayer policy in federal court. In January 2010, the trial court ruled that the prayer policy was unconstitutional and had the effect of affiliating the County with Christianity.

The County appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In July 2011, the Fourth Circuit upheld the trial court’s decision, explaining that the County unlawfully advanced a particular faith by allowing prayers that repeatedly and specifically referred to Christianity.

In January 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the County’s petition for review. And in April 2012, the plaintiffs settled their claim for attorneys’ fees and expenses. The case has concluded.

BREAKING:

Supreme Court Overturns Abortion Rights; Americans United Readying Religious Freedom Litigation

“This Supreme Court abolished the constitutional right to abortion in an opinion that is a direct attack on the separation of church and state." —Rachel Laser, AU's CEO and President

Read our statement.