A federal appeals court says school-led dinner prayers at the Virginia Military Institute are unconstitutional. A three-judge panel on the Fourth U-S Circuit Court of Appeals handed down the ruling in Richmond. The school has held the prayers since the 1950s. In 2001, the Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on behalf of two cadets who complained about the prayers. In January 2002, a federal judge in Lynchburg ruled that the prayers violated separation of church and state. The federal appeals court agreed, calling the prayer before dinner unconstitutional because cadets are more or less obligated to attend the evening gatherings.