In the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
ATHEISTS OF FLORIDA, INC., and ELLEN BETH WACHS,
CITY OF LAKELAND, FLORIDA, and MAYOR GOW FIELDS,
On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
BRIEF OF MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND THE FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL AS AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF APPELLEES AND AFFIRMANCE OR VACATUR
The thirteen Members of Congress who joined this brief currently serve in the House of Representatives in the 112th Congress of the United States, and are individually named in the Certificate of Interested Persons. Both Houses of Congress open each day's session with prayer, and these Members regard such legislative prayer as an important activity both to solemnize the occasion and to seek God's blessing on their deliberations and decisions. Each Member also represents various cities, towns, counties, and school districts--as well as part of a sovereign state--the governing body for each one of which likewise begins its sessions with legislative prayer.
The Court's judgment in this case has two significant implications for each Member of Congress joining this brief as amicus curiae. For the three Members of Congress on this brief representing citizens in the States of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, the Court's disposition of this case has immediate implications for legislatures of those three states, and all units of local government situated therein. For all other Members, this Court's decision could impact the legislative prayer practices of the state and local governments of those constituents.
The Family Research Council (FRC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public-policy organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., that since its founding in 1983 analyzes governmental policies that affect families in the United States and educate the American people regarding faith-related issues. FRC's Center for Religious Liberty is dedicated to advancing religious liberty in the United States and educating the public regarding the importance of religious freedom. FRC advocates an understanding of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause consistent with the original meaning of those First Amendment provisions.