Williamson v. Brevard County, No. 17-15769 (11th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, a group of Secular Humanists and atheists, filed suit challenging the county's practice of opening its meetings with a religious invocation. Plaintiffs alleged that the opening prayers violated the Establishment Clause, and the county wrongfully barred plaintiffs from offering invocations of their own.
The Eleventh Circuit held that the county's process of selecting invocation speakers violated the Establishment Clause because it selected invocation speakers in a way that favors certain monotheistic religions and categorically excludes from consideration other religions solely based on their belief systems. In this case, members of the county board of commissioners have plenary authority, on a rotating basis, to invite whomever they want to deliver invocations, with no consistent standards or expectation of inclusiveness.