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Case Against Ten Commandment Monument Dismissed

Dec 31, 1969 07:00 PM EST

LEXINGTON, Ky. - In another effort to remove the Ten Commandments from all public display, the American Civil Liberties Union files suit against Mercer County. The federal court in Lexingdon Ky dismissed the lawsuit, calling the charge "flawed and without merit."

"This is a tremendous affirmation that the legal attack aimed at removing the Ten Commandments from places like the Mercer County courthouse is legally flawed and without merit," said Francis J. Manion, American Center for Law and Justice senior counsel who is representing Mercer County in defending the display.

"The court is extremely clear that the display does not violate the constitution and merely acknowledges the role that the Ten Commandments has played in the formation of our nation's heritage and history. This decision is an important victory underscoring the fact that such a display is an acknowledgement of history, not an endorsement of religion."

In a six-page opinion filed with the court on Jan. 22, The District Court Judge Karl S. Forester granted the ACLJ a motion for summary, dismissing the suit.

The ACLU suit against the county came after the display that included the Ten Commandments among a series of historical and legal texts, were put up at the courthouse.

Judge Forester wrote, "the display clearly has a legitimate secular purpose of, including but not limited to, acknowledging the historical influence of the Commandments on the development of this country's laws, and the record is devoid of any evidence indicating a religious purpose by the government." The court also concluded "the primary purpose or effect of the display is not to endorse religion as a matter of law."

The ACLU motion, filed last august to remove the display. Forester, however, said that the ACLU had not shown a "likelihood of success on the merits."

The ACLJ is involved in more than 15 cases around the country defending public displays of the Ten Commandments. Their most recent case in November involving a 5,280-pound Ten Commandments monument installed in an Alabama state Judicial Building ended with a court order commanding its removal.

By Pauline C.