On Aug. 7 the majority of Missouri voters decided to amend the Missouri Constitution and on Aug. 8, the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri filed a class action lawsuit challenging one section of that amendment.

When Amendment 2 takes effect, around Sept. 6, all prisoners will lose the additional protection of religious liberty that they had been afforded since 1820, when the Missouri Constitution was originally adopted.

“Not only is it unconstitutional to take away the rights of one class of citizens, but it is an affront to our American values of religious liberty,” said Brenda L. Jones, executive director of the ACLU-EM.

“Think of the U.S. Constitution, which provides basic religious rights, as a cake, and the Missouri Constitution, which provided additional religious liberties, as the icing,” explains Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU-EM. “The newly passed Amendment 2 will strip the icing off that cake for prisoners and doing so perpetuates the stereotype that prisoners are inferior and less worthy of the protection of their right to prayer under the Missouri Constitution.”


Anthony Rothert and Grant Doty

Date filed

January 23, 2017


United State District Court/Western District of Missouri/Central Division