Federal Court to Hear Kentucky Ten Commandments Case

CINCINNATI — Liberty Counsel will present oral argument at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in defense of the “Foundations of American Law and Government” display, which includes the Ten Commandments. Liberty Counsel represents McCreary and Pulaski Counties in Kentucky. These are the same cases Liberty Counsel argued at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005. The High Court only ruled on the preliminary injunction.  The “Foundations of American Law and Government” display contains the Ten Commandments, the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Charta, the Star-Spangled Banner, the National Motto, the Preamble to the Kentucky Constitution, the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution, and a picture of Lady Justice.

In 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court heard the McCreary County v. ACLU case, along with a Texas case, Van Orden v. Perry. The Court issued split, and frankly, confusing decisions. Since that time, however, the composition of the Court has changed. Justices Roberts and Alito have replaced Justices Rehnquist and O’Connor. It is likely that a different result will be reached if the McCreary case reaches the High Court again. Moreover, since the 2005 decision, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the exact same “Foundations of American Law and Government” display. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals also upheld the same display. In both cases Liberty Counsel successfully represented the government. Also, a federal court of appeals has upheld a stand-alone Ten Commandments following the 2005 decisions.

Despite the change of justices and the two court of appeals’ decisions upholding the same displays, Kentucky District Court Judge Jennifer Kaufman issued an equivocal ruling, and then later struck down the displays. Liberty Counsel then appealed the ruling. Every federal court of appeals which has considered the “Foundations” display has ruled that the display on its face is constitutional. The only issue raised by this display is the subjective motive of the government officials in posting such a display. If the displays were predominately religious, the courts have struck them down. If educational in nature, the courts have upheld them.

Mathew Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “The ACLU’s Ten Commandments clearinghouse agenda will hit rough waters when the case reaches the U.S. Supreme Court. The tide has turned at the High Court. Since 2005 the ACLU has lost three consecutive Ten Commandments cases at the appellate court level. They have refused to ask the Supreme Court to take these cases, because they know the Court is no longer hostile to the Ten Commandments. Anyone with a little background in the history of America knows that the classic example of the rule of law is at home in a court of law.”

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