FFRF challenges Arizona Day of Prayer in state court (Jan. 4, 2012)

FFRF, its Valley of the Sun Chapter and several members as well as plaintiffs who were Buddhist, Christian and Muslim, filed suit in state court, challenging the constitutionality of Arizona Gov. Janice K. Brewer's annual Arizona Day of Prayer. The lawsuit was filed in Superior court of Arizona, County of Maricopa in January of 2012. Judge Eileen Willett dismissed the case on August 13, 2012 for lack of standing and for lack of jurisdiction to issue relief to the plaintiffs. On Nov. 16, 2012, FFRF and the individual plaintiffs filed an appeal to Division One of the Arizona Court of Appeals arguing that their injuries are sufficient to challenge the Governor's proclaimed days of prayer.

The Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal based on a lack of plaintiff standing  on June 11, 2013. In an unpublished opinion, Judge Donn Kessler wrote that the plaintiffs would have to demonstrate behavior of avoidance of the violative conduct or "that the alleged violation is so pervasive and continuing that it of necessity affects on a practical level how the plaintiffs interact with government." In its earlier briefing, FFRF emphasized court decisions that allowed standing where the plaintiffs had unwelcome contact with government speech promoting religion. The court did not reach the merits of the constitutional claims.

Legal complaint (pdf)

Summons (pdf)

Motion to Dismiss

Response to Motion to Dismiss

Order of Dismissal

FFRF Appeal Brief (Oct. 1, 2012)

Governor's Answering Brief (Dec. 28, 2012)

FFRF Reply Brief (Jan. 22, 2013)

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