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Protecting the Bill of Rights in Utah since 1958

Articles, Resources, and Position Papers

Following is a partial list of ACLU of Utah articles, resources and position papers. Additional materials can be found on our issue pages.

Prayer Before City Council Meetings and Legislative Sessions

10 November 2000 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
This resource was published in November 2000.  Due to a pivotal United States Supreme Court case in 1983, the constitutionality of legislative prayers, at least for the federal Constitution, has been firmly established. In Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983), the Court held that a state legislature’s practice of opening each legislative day with a prayer performed by a state-selected and paid chaplain did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Rather than examining the case under the usual Establishment Clause framework, the Court looked to the history of the use of prayer before legislative sessions, in both the state and federal systems, and relied on this history when finding these prayers to be constitutional. (1) “This unique history leads us to accept the interpretation of the First Amendment draftsmen who saw no real threat to the Establishment Clause arising from the practice of prayer similar to that now challenged.” Id. at 791. The Court was not troubled by the fact that a Presbyterian chaplain had been selected for the past 16 years. “Absent proof that the chaplain’s reappointment stemmed from an impermissible motive, we conclude that his long tenure does not in itself conflict with the…


03 November 2000 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
First Unitarian Church v. Salt Lake City Corporation STEPHEN C. CLARK (4551)American Civil Liberties Union of Utah Foundation, Inc. 355 North 300 West, Suite 1 Salt Lake City, Utah 84103 (801) 521-9862 MARK LOPEZ American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Inc. 125 Broad Street New York, New York 10004 Attorneys for Plaintiffs IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH, CENTRAL DIVISION PLAINTIFFS’ MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT Civil No. 2:99CV-0921ST Judge Ted StewartMagistrate Judge Samuel Alba FIRST UNITARIAN CHURCH OF SALT LAKE CITY; UTAHNS FOR FAIRNESS; UTAH NATIONAL RGANIZATION FOR WOMEN; and CRAIG S. AXFORD, Plaintiffs, vs. SALT LAKE CITY CORPORATION, a municipal corporation, Defendant, CORPORATION OF THE PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS, Intervenor. Pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and DUCivR 56-1, plaintiffs respectfully submit this Memorandum in support of their Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. Main Street and Other Poems By Joyce Kilmer Main Street (For S. M. L.) I like to look at the blossomy track of the moon upon the sea, But it isn”t half so fine a sight as Main Street used to be When it all…