U.S. Supreme Court May Decide To Hear Ten Commandments Case:

Oct 8, 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As early as Monday, the United States Supreme Court may agree to hear a Kentucky case involving the display of the Ten Commandments together with other historical documents in school buildings in Harlan County, Kentucky, and in courthouses in McCreary and Pulaski County, Kentucky. The three counties are represented by Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and the traditional family. If the Court grants review, the decision in this case will prove to be vitally important on the issue of the constitutionality of displays containing the Ten Commandments. The Court has not granted review in a Ten Commandments case since 1980, but review of the issue this term seems more likely considering there are currently five pending cases before the High Court on the issue of the constitutionality of Ten Commandments displays, and lower courts have issued conflicting decisions.

The Kentucky case involves two courthouses in Pulaski and McCreary Counties which displayed the Ten Commandments, the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, and other historical documents. The Harlan County School Board created a similar display which also includes a limited public forum where the community can post additional historical documents. The display in all three counties is intended to display historical documents and symbols that played a significant role in the founding of our system of law and government.

Controversy surrounding the Ten Commandment displays has brought the issue to courthouses across the country. Courts are sharply divided concerning the constitutionality of such displays and the conflicting rulings confuse citizens and townships regarding the legality of historical documents which have religious references. Currently, 4 federal circuit courts and one state Supreme Court hold that displays of Ten Commandments are constitutional, while 3 federal circuit courts hold that such displays are unconstitutional.

Mat Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, stated, “We are hopeful the Supreme Court will accept review of this important case. Lower courts are hopelessly confused over the constitutionality of governmental displays of the Ten Commandments.” Staver continued, “The Ten Commandments belong in a display of historical documents important to the foundation of our country. American history would be incomplete without reference or acknowledgement of the significant role religion, including the Ten Commandments, has played in our founding, history, and legal jurisprudence. Those who seek to remove the Ten Commandments from public display are engaging in the worst kind of historical revisionism.”