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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is leaving in place a decision that barred a North Carolina county from opening its meetings with Christian prayers.

The Supreme Court declined Thursday to take a case involving the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.

The board was sued in 2013 over its practice of opening meetings with a prayer led by a commissioner.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond ruled against the county in 2017. It said the commissioners’ practice of leading the prayers themselves and inviting the audience to join, always in the Christian faith, violated the First Amendment by establishing Christianity as a preferred religion. The Supreme Court’s decision not to take the case leaves that decision in place.

Justice Clarence Thomas said he’d have taken the case.