FFRF Sues Colorado Governor Over Prayer Proclamations

The Foundation, with the help of Denver-area members and plaintiffs, filed suit on Nov. 12, 2008, against Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter Jr., for showing governmental preference for religion in issuing National Day of Prayer proclamations in tandem with the National Day of Prayer (NDP) Task Force.

The Foundation filed the lawsuit in state court in Denver, both on behalf of four named plaintiffs and its more than 400 Colorado members. The lawsuit seeks to declare Day of Prayer proclamations and dedications by Gov. Ritter in violation of the Religious Freedom clause of the Colorado Constitution, and seeks an order enjoining him from issuing further such proclamations. The Complaint notes that not only has Ritter issued official National Day of Prayer proclamations, but he appears to have aligned himself and the State of Colorado with a national observance called Reign Down USA, an evangelical movement that promotes prayer, ostensibly for restoration of the nation.

A unanimous three-judge panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled on May 10, 2012 in FFRF's favor: "A reasonable observer would conclude that these proclamations send the message that those who pray are favored members of Colorado’s political community, and that those who do not pray do not enjoy that favored status.”

On May 20, 2013, the Colorado Supreme Court granted Gov. Hickenlooper's petition for review. The court will decide whether to upold the appellate decision, which held that FFRF and four of its members have standing and that the state constitution disallows the governor's "Colorado Day of Prayer" exhortations. 

Case No. 08-CV-9799

Press Release

FFRF Complaint (11/12/10)
Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment

Exhibit A
Exhibit B
Exhibit C
Exhibit D
Exhibit E
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment

Memorandum of Law
Defendants' Motion
Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion
Plaintiffs' Brief in Opposition
Plaintiffs' Responses
Plaintiffs' Proposed Findings
Affidavit of Richard L. Bolton

Order Summary Judgement (10/28/10)

FFRF Amended Notice of Appeal; Proposed Order (12/14/10)
Order re FFRF Amended Notice of Appeal (12/14/10)

FFRF Opening Appellate Brief
Colorado Answer Brief
FFRF Reply Brief

Opinion (in FFRF's favor) by Judge Bernard, concurring Loeb and Lichtenstein
May 10, 2012

Colorado Petition to Supreme Court 

FFRF Response

Colorado Reply

Order Granting Review

FFRF press release, May 10, 2012


Governor Opening Brief to Colorado Supreme Court

FFRF’s Answer Brief (Nov. 8, 2013)

Amicus brief by American Humanist Association

Amicus brief by ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Opinion (November 24, 2014)

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