The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged Morrisey's arguments as reasons why legislative prayer is constitutional. Morrisey's brief showed that numerous states, counties and municipalities open meetings with lawmaker-led prayer nationwide.
“Legislative prayer is a proud tradition in West Virginia,” Morrisey said in a statement. “This free expression of faith has been a cornerstone for many leaders who seek guidance from above in helping our state endure its struggles and reach new heights.”
The case – Lund vs. Rowan County – focused upon a North Carolina county’s practice of opening its meeting with prayer offered by its commissioners.
Morrisey's office says the victory protects the continued practice of lawmaker-led prayer in West Virginia and reverses a lower court ruling, which if left intact would have impacted North Carolina and every state in the court’s jurisdiction including West Virginia.
The coalition’s friend-of-the-court brief, filed in support of the North Carolina county, used data to illustrate the prevalence of lawmaker-led prayer. It argued many governing bodies could not afford to hire a full-time chaplain or recruit volunteer clergy.
Morrisey led the coalition with support from attorneys general in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.