Burbank Prayer Lawsuit Appeal Pending
BURBANK, CALIFORNIA -- The appeal of a ruling that called LDS bishop
David King's Burbank City Council prayer unconstitutional is awaiting
a hearing date before the 2nd District Court of Appeals, and
constitutional scholars disagree over whether or not the ruling will
be overturned. The case, arising after activist Irv Rubin objected to
King's use of the words "Jesus Christ," hinges on the interpretation
of a 1983 U.S. Supreme Court case, Marsh vs. Chambers, and whether
the court meant that prayers before legislatures had to be
nondenominational or not.
The city of Burbank says the issue is over
free speech, Mayor Bob Kramer says, "When a minister or a rabbi comes
to a meeting, is it our job to tell them how to pray?" But USC law
professor Erwin Chemerinsky says Burbank seems to really want one
type of prayer, "Burbank seems to be litigating over its ability to
say a Christian prayer. If there is prayer, I think it's important
that it be secular prayer."
While issues in the case are clear from a legal standpoint, the
public perception of the case is clouded by Rubin's arrest in an
alleged plot to bomb a Culver City mosque and bomb an Arab-American
Rubin Eyeing Developments in Prayer Case
Los Angeles Times 22Jan02 US CA LA T2
By Kristina Sauerwein and Jean Guccione: Times Staff Writers
Burbank: A legal fight began after the suspect in a bomb plot heard a Christian invocation preceding a 1999 City Council meeting.