The United States Supreme Court has reversed a lower court’s ruling against a Kansas woman who sued police for telling her to stop praying during a search of her apartment. Mary Anne Sause filed suit against two police officers following an incident in 2013 when they entered her home to search it and, among other things, stopped her from praying. In a recent decision the high court concluded that a lower court decision from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals against Sause should be reversed.” The First Liberty Institute, which represented Sause, celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision, with President Kelly Shackelford saying that it was “a just outcome for Ms. Sause and a victory for religious liberty.
No American citizen should ever be ordered by government officials not to pray in their own home,” said Shackelford. In November 2013, two officers searched Sause’s home following a noise complaint. Sause asked one of the officers if she could pray. According to Sause, an officer allowed the prayer but shortly after she started praying silently the second officer ordered her to “get up” and “stop praying” and she complied immediately. The harassment continued from the officers, with Sause claiming that she was forced to reveal any scars or tattoos on her body. She was eventually issued tickets for “Interference with Law Enforcement” and “Disorderly Conduct.”
After contacting the officers’ superiors and failing to get results, Sause filed a complaint with a district court in Kansas in November 2015, arguing among other things that the incident violated her First Amendment rights.
The district court ruled against her and in June of last year, a three-judge panel of the Tenth Circuit upheld the lower court ruling. “But while the conduct alleged in this case may be obviously unprofessional, we can’t say that it’s ‘obviously unlawful,'” conclude the panel in their 2017 decision.
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