Liberty Counsel Defends Ten Commandments Display in Rutherford County, Tennessee

Jan 13, 2006

Liberty Counsel will defend Rutherford County, Tennessee's display of the Ten Commandments against a suit by the ACLU requesting a permanent injunction.

On April 11, 2002, the Rutherford County Commission voted 16-5 to display in the Rutherford County Courthouse the following documents: the Preamble to the Tennessee Constitution, the National Motto, the National Anthem, the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Charta, the Bill of Rights, the United States Constitution, the Mayflower Compact and the Ten Commandments.

On June 21, 2002, Judge Robert Echols issued a preliminary injunction removing the Ten Commandments, but the case was stayed pending the decision in McCreary County, Kentucky, and in Mercer County, Kentucky, both of which are also represented by Liberty Counsel. On June 27, 2005, the Supreme Court in a split 5-4 decision upheld a preliminary injunction against McCreary County because the Court said the prior history of the county's evolving display suggested a religious purpose. However, the Court permitted the case to return to the trial court for a final ruling.

In the meantime, on December 20, 2005, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the same court to which Rutherford County will be appealed, upheld Mercer County's identical display. The Court's opinion rejected the ACLU's "repeated reference to 'the separation of church and state.' This extra-constitutional construct has grown tiresome. The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state." In addition to winning a few weeks ago at the Sixth Circuit, Liberty Counsel also won against the ACLU last summer at the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on the identical display in Elkhart County, Indiana.

Today the ACLU filed a motion in court to permanently remove the Ten Commandments from Rutherford County's display.

Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, stated: "The tide is turning against the ACLU's war on the Ten Commandments. Within the past few months we defeated them when two separate federal courts of appeal upheld displays of the Ten Commandments identical to that displayed in Rutherford County, Tennessee. Every federal court of appeals that has ruled on the Ten Commandments since the Supreme Court's ruling has upheld such displays. The courts, and history, are working against the ACLU. With Judge Samuel Alito's impending confirmation to the Supreme Court, the ACLU can no longer count on the High Court to further their agenda.

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