Image: Montgomery County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Wayne Mack.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Montgomery, Houston, and New Orleans, May 28 – Constitutional rights fighter Wayne Mack, the Precinct 1 Montgomery County Justice of the Peace, who began serving in May, 2014, and begins each court session with a prayer through a local chaplaincy program, intends to appeal an adverse ruling he suffered when, on May 20, 2021, United States District Judge Ken Hoyt ordered Mack to terminate the program. In granting a summary judgment without allowing Mack a trial, Hoyt wrote, “”The structure of the ceremony, combined with the defendant’s attendant statements about the ceremony’s purpose, is designed to give attendees “a sense of being in the presence of something . . . holy and sacred[.]…The Court is of the view that the defendant violates the Establishment Clause when, before a captured audience of litigants and their counsel, he presents himself as theopneustically-inspired, enabling him to advance, through monuments, symbols, and practices…Such a magnanimous goal flies in the face of historical tradition, and makes a mockery of both, religion and law.”
The plaintiff, using the pseudonym John Roe, is an attorney who operates a law practice, primarily involving landlord-tenant disputes, in Montgomery County. The style of the case is Freedom from Religion Foundation, Inc., and John Roe versus Wayne Mack, in his personal capacity and in his official capacity on behalf of the State of Texas.
In granting a summary judgment, Hoyt found that “Feeling that he could not refuse to participate in the opening ceremony without prejudicing his clients, in July 2017, Roe ceased representing clients with cases assigned to the defendant. He contends that he has, consequently, suffered pecuniary injury in the form of lost opportunities to represent clients in the defendant’s court.”
Hoyt, who has one of the worst records of any District Judge in the United States and whose rulings regularly get overturned by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, acknowledge that Mack contends that the United States “has a rich historical tradition of opening government proceedings—including judicial proceedings—with solemnizing invocations.”
As a result, Hoyt censored Mack’s chaplain-led ceremonial invocations prior to his Justice of the Peace Court proceedings in Montgomery and Willis.
Mack allows chaplains from multiple faith groups to offer invocations at the start of his court sessions. Justin Butterfield, Deputy General Counsel of the First Liberty Institute, which is representing Mack in the proceeding said, “Judge Mack is following a long tradition of opening courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, with a ceremonial invocation…We disagree with the court’s decision, and we look forward to appealing this decision to the Fifth Circuit.”
Judge Mack told this newspaper on Wednesday, “I never got my day in court.” The Justice of the Peace also confirmed that he intends to appeal his case to the Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
In his role as Justice of the Peace, Judge Mack allows the multi-faith, volunteer chaplains to open his courtroom ceremonies with a brief invocation and the pledge of allegiance in order to honor their service. The chaplaincy program includes leaders from multiple faiths, including Christian, Sunni Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and Hindu religious leaders.
Mack is a popular fighter for religious freedom and holds an annual Prayer Breakfast every October in order to raise funds for the numerous charities to which he regularly contributes.