Attorneys for District Judge William Constangy of Charlotte asked the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Friday to decide whether the judge's prayer for justice at the start of his court sessions violates the Constitution.

The appeal seeks review of an Oct. 18 ruling by U.S. District Judge James McMillan of Charlotte, who declared the 30-second, non-denominational prayer a violation of the First Amendment. Constangy's prayer seeks justice and fairness in the courtroom.The lawsuit against Constangy was filed in September 1989 by the North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and five Charlotte lawyers who objected to being exposed to the prayer while practicing in Constangy's courtroom.

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