published Saturday, September 1st, 2012

Ruling appealed in Hamilton County Commission prayer case

Brandon Jones, left, and Thomas Coleman, right, lead a rally on the second level of the Hamilton County Courthouse in this file photo.
Brandon Jones, left, and Thomas Coleman, right, lead a rally on the second level of the Hamilton County Courthouse in this file photo.
Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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The two men suing Hamilton County over prayers held at commission meetings have appealed a local federal judge's ruling that prayers may continue while the case is litigated.

Attorney Robin Flores, representing plaintiffs Thomas Coleman III and Brandon Jones, filed notice of appeal Friday with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The move is aimed at having the higher court review and rule whether U.S. District Judge Harry S. "Sandy" Mattice was correct to deny a preliminary injunction to halt the prayers temporarily while the case winds through the courts.

Coleman and Jones filed suit in June after commissioners refused their request to hold a moment of silence instead of prayers, according to Times Free Press archives. They claim in court documents that the prayers "in Jesus' name" violate the First Amendment's establishment clause.

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