On July 23 a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the city of Fredericksburg, Va., acted properly in banning a member of its city council from invoking the name of Jesus Christ in prayers at the start of meetings. The council member, the Rev. Hashmel Turner, sued in 2005, claiming the city’s ban infringed on his free speech rights. The city maintained that Turner’s remarks qualified as government speech and therefore didn’t deserve First Amendment protections.
People for the American Way, a nonprofit, took up the city’s case but recruited two Hunton & Williams litigators to share brief-writing duties and make the oral arguments. An associate, Terence Rasmussen, argued the case in district court; a partner, Robert Rolfe, took over on appeal. The two talked to The Am Law Daily about the case.
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