Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton recently issued a legal opinion that states that opening state and county court hearings with a prayer given by any ‘recognized’ chaplain’ is ‘most likely’ constitutional.
The opinion was the result of a request from Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, after he received a query from a Justice of the Peace who routinely opened sessions with a prayer by a volunteer chaplain. The JP received a warning letter from the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct about this practice, which he then passed on to the Lt. Governor.
Paxton’s opinion goes on to state that any individual at any court hearing who does not wish to be present when a prayer is given will be escorted from the courtroom and then be allowed to return after the prayer is said.