Furthermore, if you have any outlines you want to share, so that others, free of charge, may benefit, please send those to be posted here. Indeed, Van Orden, the petitioner here, apparently walked by the monument for a number of years before bringing this lawsuit. This recognition has led us to hold that the Establishment Clause permits a state legislature to open its daily sessions with a prayer by a chaplain paid by the State. Tennessee: A plaque bearing the Ten Commandments hangs on the outside of the Washington County court house. The Texas Capitol grounds perform exactly that function. North Dakota: There is a monument bearing the Ten Commandments in a public plaza in Fargo.
The starting presumption is that respondents acted lawfully, and petitioner cites nothing in the record suggesting otherwise. If the Constitution charges visitors to state capitol grounds with such temporal perspicaciousness, it also can require them to turn their heads and look down the sidewalk, or at least to read the whole capitol grounds brochure before jumping to the conclusion that a constitutional violation is afoot. The public visiting the capitol grounds is more likely to have considered the religious aspect of the tablets message as part of what is a broader moral and historical message reflective of a cultural heritage. The Establishment Clause permits the inclusion of passive religious symbols in broader historical and cultural displays That uninterrupted pattern of official recognition of the role that religion, including the Ten Commandments, has played in the foundation of the Country, the formation of its governmental institutions and legal system, and the cultural and moral heritage of its people, counsels strongly against construing the Establishment Clause to forbid respondents' display. Finding this to be a borderline case, Justice Breyer nevertheless concluded that the text of the Ten Commandments was not used in a manner that suggested government endorsement of its religious message, given its physical setting, the circumstances surrounding its placement, and its forty-year history on the capitol grounds.
I concur in the judgment of the Court. The three most popular religions in the United States, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—which combined account for 97. There is also a plaque containing the Ten Commandments in the foyer of the Sullivan County Courthouse, ibid. As petitioner's amici explain Baptist Joint Comm. But Moses was a lawgiver as well as a religious leader. The inclusion of the Commandments monument in this group has a dual significance, partaking of both religion and government, that cannot be said to violate the Establishment Clause.
That argument misses the mark in three respects. The display is not on the grounds of a public school, where, given the impressionability of the young, government must exercise particular care in separating church and state. At issue was whether the Court should continue to inquire into the purpose behind a religious display and whether evaluation of the government's claim of secular purpose for the religious displays may take evolution into account under an analysis. No symbol or seal of the government appears anywhere on the monolith. The judgment of the Court in this case stands for the proposition that the Constitution permits governmental displays of sacred religious texts.
Not included justice thomas , concurring. The Supreme Court held that the monument did not violate the Establishment Clause. Because Texas included other monuments on its Capitol grounds representing different aspects of its political and legal history, the Ten Commandments had a secular significance that appeared to outweigh the religious one. The Ten Commandments monument is only one of 17 memorials to important influences on Texas history and culture, and its location between the State Capitol and the State Supreme Court building underscores its legal symbolism. Whatever the relative influence of Hammurabi or Teutonic customs on the United States, there is no other historic symbol for the law that has the same currency and resonance with the general public as the image of the Ten Commandments.
The Chief Justice, joined by Justice Scalia, Justice Kennedy, and Justice Thomas, concluded that the Establishment Clause allows the display of a monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments on the Texas State Capitol grounds. While the Court has sometimes pointed to Lemon v. The display of a creche is profoundly sectarian, and there is a lack of universal consensus even among those who believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ on the appearance and display of Nativity scenes, or whether Christmas should be celebrated as a holiday at all. There are, of course, limits to the governments display of religious messages or symbols. From at least 1789, there has been an unbroken history of official acknowledgment by all three branches of government of religions role in American life. Reconciling these two faces requires that we neither abdicate our responsibility to maintain a division between church and state nor evince a hostility to religion by disabling the government from in some ways recognizing our religious heritage….
The same day, the Court handed down another 5—4 decision in with the opposite outcome. Georgia: The seal of the clerk of the Superior Court in Richmond County contains an outline of the Ten Commandments. The monument at issue contains all Ten Commandments; it is not an isolated display of the three or four most overtly religious Commandments. The plaintiffs argued in their appeal that local government has given a firm secular reasoning for the display as the commemoration of historical documents and have renounced the religious motivation for the display, which was the court's reasoning for its prohibition. It was agreed that these moral standards, as influenced by the Judeo-Christian tradition, have played a large role in the development of the common law and have formed a part of the moral background for the adoption of the national constitution. Mississippi: There is a statue of Moses holding the Ten Commandments atop the Hinds County Courthouse.
Instead, they claimed that the had failed to follow the majority's comment allowing government to reform the reasoning of a display to render it constitutional. The determinative factor here, however, is that 40 years passed in which the monuments presence, legally speaking, went unchallenged until the single legal objection raised by petitioner. City of Elkhart, 235 F. In addition to the Commandments, the counties added historical documents containing religious references as their sole common element. One important function of government is to preserve and commemorate the history and culture of its people. There appear to be monuments bearing the Ten Commandments on the lawn on the eastside of the courthouse in Coeur d'Alene and in a park near the City Hall in Hayden.
Alaska: The city council chambers in Fairbanks has a depiction of the Ten Commandments. The Aztec symbol also appears in a seal on the outside of the Capitol building. Schempp 1963 , and Engel v. West Virginia: A plaque of the Ten Commandments hangs on a wall in one of the courtrooms in the Clay County Courthouse. But they did know that line-drawing between religions is an enterprise that, once begun, has no logical stopping point. The themes are individual grit, patriotic courage, and God as the source of Jewish and Christian morality; there is no common denominator…. Nevada: There is a stone sculpture bearing the Ten Commandments in the Lovelock Courthouse.
In contrast to McCreary, in this case the Court did not apply the test it developed in Lemon v. We have been advised that courthouses in approximately 45 of the 95 counties in Tennessee have similar displays. Second and more generally, capitol grounds are a location where visitors expect to find monuments and memorials commemorating a broad variety of historical and cultural influences, both religious and secular. Second, the surrounding context confirms the display's secular character. City of Ogden, 297 F. See Erica Curless, Commandments Abound in Idaho; Low-key Monuments in Public Spaces Seem Unlikely to Inspire Lawsuits, The Spokesman-Review, Sept.