Monday, June 27, 2005

Anybody want to explain this one to me?

The Supreme Court has struck down displays of the ten commandments in courthouses, yet they are ok in state capitol building.

While my preferred compromise is that framed things are taken down while carvings are grandfathered in, I don't think this is a terrible comrpomise. Yet I don't get how it works legally.

CC

2 comments:

fausto said...

My understanding is that the distinction has to do with how much of the purpose or effect of displaying the Ten Commandments is exclusively religious, not with which public building it appears in.

In the Kentucky case the display (inside the courthouse) was without any other context placing the Ten Commandments within the state's legal or cultural heritage, so its primary purpose was deemed to be an unconstitutional religious display. In the Texas case the display was one among many monuments on the State Capitol grounds, so it was deemed to be part of a broader display of various elements of cultural heritage, which was deemed permissible.

Michelle Murrain said...

Yes, exactly. This is the key quote:

"In contrast, a 6-foot-granite monument on the grounds of the Texas Capitol -- one of 17 historical displays on the 22-acre lot -- was determined to be a legitimate tribute to the nation's legal and religious history."

I actually think that this is pretty reasonable, and makes a lot of sense. And, of course Scalia dissented, so that makes me like it.