The Satanic Temple, Inc. v. City of Boston

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The Satanic Temple, Inc. v. City of Boston
Filing Date
Original Jurisdiction
Plaintiff The Satanic Temple Inc.
Defendant
Intervenor N/A
State
Case#
Original Result
First Appeal N/A
Second Appeal N/A
Final Result

Satanic Temple Sues Boston Over Opening Prayer Policy[1]

The Satanic Temple has sued Boston after the city council declined to allow Satanists to deliver an invocation at the start of its meetings.
The Salem-based group, which has lodged freedom of religion challenges nationwide, said Tuesday that the council's policy for its opening prayer is discriminatory and unconstitutional because it does not permit prayer from every religious organization that wishes to deliver one.
Satanists have asked to give the opening invocation on at least three occasions, and each time they were informed the council doesn’t accept requests, the organization said. Council policy allows each council member to invite a speaker of their choice to deliver the opening prayer before each meeting a few times a year, according to the organization.

Satanists allowed to continue to press claim that the way the City Council picks clergy for invocations is unconstitutional[2]

A federal judge ruled today (July 21, 2021) that Salem-based Satanists can continue to press their claim that the way the Boston City Council picks clergy members to start its Wednesday meetings - but not them - violates the Constitution's ban on the establishment of religion.
The Satanic Temple, frustrated in its efforts to give an invocation for a City Council meeting, sued the council in January, alleging the current system, in which councilors take turns inviting a clergy member to address the council, violates the First Amendment prohibition against government-sponsored religion and the group's First Amendment free-speech rights and violates their rights to equal treatment under the Fourteenth Amendment.
In her ruling today, US District Court Judge Allison Burroughs agreed with city lawyers that the policy does not infringe on the temple's free-speech or equal-protection rights and dismissed those claims. But she ruled that the group had made a "plausible" enough case about the establishment issue to warrant it going forward in court.

References

  1. WBUR.org, Satanic Temple Sues Boston Over Opening Prayer Policy, Jan. 26, 2021
  2. UniversalHub.com, Satanists allowed to continue to press claim that the way the City Council picks clergy for invocations is unconstitutional, July 21, 2021