The U.S. Supreme Court has opted not to get involved in a battle over public prayer in North Carolina's Forsyth County, allowing a lower court's decision to stand.
County officials used to begin commission meetings with prayer. While the petitions were Christian in nature, officials said religious leaders from all faiths were welcome to pray.
But the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals viewed the matter differently.
The federal court ruled that 33 prayers given before meetings between 2007 and 2008 were Christian and therefore considered a government endorsement of a religion.
Many legal experts predicted the Supreme Court would take the case.
"I'm surprised and disappointed," said Mike Johnson, the Alliance Defense Fund attorney who argued the county's case before the courts. "
We really were expecting that the court would want to take a look at the case," he continued.
"I think that this leaves a very important constitutional law issue essentially unresolved," he said. "We believe that sometime soon, the Supreme Court will have to hear one of these cases to resolve the issue."