Legislative Sessions May Open With Prayer

1983

In Marsh v. Chambers, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that it is not an establishment of religion for the Nebraska Legislature to open its sessions with a prayer by a chaplain who is paid from public funds. Because the practice of offering such prayers can be traced to the Continental Congress and to the First Congress, which framed the Bill of Rights, the Court finds that the purpose of the prayer is not to promote religion but to communicate certain shared values.