Thursday January 14, 2010

Display with Ten Commandments Ruled Constitutional by Court of Appeals

January 14, 2010 ( – On Thursday the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a display including the Ten Commandments in Leitchfield, KY, on the second floor of Grayson County’s courthouse.

The display, entitled “Foundations of American Law and Government,” includes the Ten Commandments, Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Preamble to the Kentucky Constitution, Star-Spangled Banner, National Motto, and a picture of Lady Justice, with an explanation of the significance of each. The display is intended to showcase a sampling of documents that played a significant role in the development of the legal and governmental system of the United States.

The majority wrote in their decision that they found that “the evidence in the record does not demonstrate that Grayson County acted with an impermissible purpose or that the inclusion of the Ten Commandments in the Foundations Display has the impermissible effect of endorsing religion.”

Mathew Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, presented the winning oral argument on behalf of Grayson County in April 2009. The case began in 2002 when the ACLU filed a lawsuit against Grayson County, and a federal judge ruled against the display.

In 2005, the same Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the same Ten Commandments display in Mercer County, KY. The Sixth Circuit governs Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan. Notwithstanding this identical and controlling precedent, the federal judge entered a permanent injunction against the Grayson County display. Thursday’s decision, however, reversed and upheld the display.

“The Ten Commandments are as much at home in a display about the foundation of law as stars and stripes are to the American flag,” said Staver. “The Ten Commandments are part of the fabric of our country and helped shape the law.

“It defies common sense to remove a recognized symbol of law from a court of law. The ACLU might not like our history and might run from it, but the fact remains that the Ten Commandments shaped our laws and may be displayed in a court of law.”

Staver said that he doesn’t believe the ACLU will ask the Supreme Court to review the case. “The ACLU has been running from the Supreme Court since 2005,” he said, “and has taken loss after loss on the Ten Commandments.”

Since 2005, when Staver argued in favor of the same Foundations Display for McCreary and Pulaski Counties, four federal courts of appeal have upheld the Ten Commandments. Three of these four involve the same Foundations Display. Since 2005, every federal court of appeals which has addressed Ten Commandments displays has upheld them. The ACLU has not won a Ten Commandments case at the court of appeals level since 2005.