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Supreme Court of the United States

Town of Greece v. Galloway

Won U.S. Supreme Court
Last Updated 6/13/2022

What's at stake

  • The continuation of the public prayer tradition that began with our founding
  • The freedom of community volunteers to pray according to their faith in a public setting without censorship
  • The preservation of freedom of speech in the face of one "offended" person’s demands for censorship
  • The foundational American principle of freedom of religion


Asking God’s blessing on public meetings is a cherished American tradition. And, like many other towns in America, the people of Greece, New York begin public meetings with a prayer. However in 2008, Americans United for Separation of Church and State sued the town of Greece on behalf of two local residents. They claimed the town violated the Constitution because many of the citizens who volunteered chose to say Christian prayers. The two residents demanded that the town censor the prayers to eliminate distinctly Christian prayers.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Town of Greece and upheld its practice of beginning public meetings with prayer. By its holding, the Court affirmed that Americans throughout the country are free to pray faithfully, without fear of censorship at public meetings.

Our role in this case

Alliance Defending Freedom, along with Allied Attorneys, represented the Town of Greece from the trial level up through the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Legal Documents

{"docs": [{"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Nathan Lewin", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Cert Amicus brief - Theologians", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:45 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Petitioner’s reply brief filed with U.S. Supreme Court", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:45 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Cert Amicus brief - State Attorney General - IN, AL, AZ, AR, CO, FL, ID, KS, MI, MS, MT, NE, NM, OK, SC, TX, UT, VA", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:45 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Brevard County, Florida", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Hawaii Letter of Support", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:45 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Becket Fund for Religious Liberty", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - 34 members of the U.S. Senate", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Petitioner’s Supreme Court brief on the merits", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:45 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - American Civil Rights Union", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Brief in support of summary judgment", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Cert Amicus brief - State Legislative Leaders - AZ, AL", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:45 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - The Rutherford Institute", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:45 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - United States", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - 8 counties and municipalities sued for legislative prayer practice", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - League of California Cities", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Virginia Christian Alliance and others", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:45 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Supreme Court oral argument transcript", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:46 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - South Carolina", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:45 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - American Center for Law and Justice", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - 10 theologians", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - States", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:45 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Southern Baptist Convention and Religious Liberty Commission", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:45 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Petitioner’s Supreme Court reply brief on the merits", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:45 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Foundation for Moral Law", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "AppellateCourt", "Title": "2nd Circuit order", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Justice and Freedom Fund", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "District court decision and order", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Southeastern Legal Foundation", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:45 PM"}, {"Court": "AppellateCourt", "Title": "2nd Circuit en banc denial", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Cert Amicus brief - Members of Congress", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:45 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "U.S. Supreme Court opinion", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:46 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Liberty Counsel", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Wallbuilders", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:45 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief -U.S. House of Representatives", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:45 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Rev. Dr. Robert E. Palmer", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:44 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Petition for writ of certiorari", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:45 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Cert Amicus brief - Former Nebraska Legislature chaplain brief", "FileName": "", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:39:45 PM"}]}

Video news release: Town of Greece v. Galloway

SCOTUSblog docket page: Town of Greece v. Galloway

Bio: Thomas G. Hungar


David A. Cortman
David A. Cortman
Senior Counsel, Vice President of U.S. Litigation
David A. Cortman serves as senior counsel and vice president of U.S. litigation with Alliance Defending Freedom.
Brett Harvey
Brett Harvey
Senior Counsel, Vice President of Allied Legal Affairs
Brett Harvey, Esq., serves as senior counsel and vice president of Allied Legal Affairs with Alliance Defending Freedom.