Tonight in Above the Law we are talking about freedom of speech. Cheryl Hanna, who is a constitutional law professor at Vermont Law School, addresses questions concerning that freedom.
Our first topic tonight is prayer at Town Meeting. The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the town of Franklin. The ACLU says after calling the meeting to order and saying the pledge of allegiance, the moderator invited a local minister to lead the voters in prayer. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of a resident, alleges the prayer is a violation of Vermont's constitution and public accommodations act.
Viewer Dan Spaulding sent us a question via Facebook. He asks, "In an official town meeting, should a prayer be included in the agenda of the meeting, or should it be separate?"
Should prayer be allowed at all at a Town Meeting? This story also raises another question. Every morning at the statehouse a member of clergy delivers a prayer. Why is that allowed?
Hanna said this is going to be a big controversy in Vermont as courts take a look at the case under the state constitution.