Rulings Not Etched in Stone: The Recent Supreme Court Decisions on the Legality of Placing the Ten Commandments in Public Places-One Allowing Their Exhibition, and One Disallowing Them-Illustrate the Twisted Logic of the Anti-Religious Justices
Eidsmoe, John, The New American
Moses would not have been pleased. The Supreme Court seemed to be halting between two opinions when, on June 27, the justices narrowly upheld a Texas Ten Commandments display while striking down another display in Kentucky. Each was a 5-4 decision. Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy voted to uphold both displays, while Justices Souter, Stevens, Ginsburg, and O'Connor voted to strike down both. Justice Breyer cast the deciding vote for the Texas display and against the Kentucky display.
The cases were slightly different. The Texas monument had been placed on the state capitol grounds by the Fraternal Order of Eagles in 1961 and stood amid at least 16 other monuments and 21 other markers commemorating people, ideals, and events that compose Texan identity. The Kentucky display was installed in 1999 in a ceremony with religious overtones, and stood by itself until challenged. After the challenge, officials surrounded the Ten Commandments with framed copies of the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Star Spangled Banner, the National Motto, the Preamble to the Kentucky Constitution, and a picture of Lady Justice. But in the view of five Supreme Court justices, this addition was too little and too late to purge the display of the religious taint they deem unconstitutional. The Court concluded that the Ten Commandments are a religious document and that the county officials established the display for a religious purpose, so the display violates their interpretation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
The Establishment Clause says that "Congress …
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Publication information: Article title: Rulings Not Etched in Stone: The Recent Supreme Court Decisions on the Legality of Placing the Ten Commandments in Public Places-One Allowing Their Exhibition, and One Disallowing Them-Illustrate the Twisted Logic of the Anti-Religious Justices. Contributors: Eidsmoe, John - Author. Magazine title: The New American. Volume: 21. Issue: 16 Publication date: August 8, 2005. Page number: 20+. © 2009 American Opinion Publishing, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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