WASHINGTON, D.C. Dec., 28 /Covenant News Wire Service/ — Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption and seeks to promote ethics and morality in our nation’s public life, has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving displays of the Ten Commandments on government property.
The case involves displays in a public school in Harlan County, Ky., and courthouses in McCreary and Pulaski counties in that state. The displays include the Ten Commandments and other historically important documents, such as the Declaration of Independence and the Magna Carta, and were intended to educate the public about the foundations of our legal system. The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the displays. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati ruled that the Ten Commandments must be removed.
Judicial Watch’s friend-of-the-court brief [Click here to view the brief — PDF format.] addresses the applications – or misapplications – of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause. Some courts have interpreted that clause of the First Amendment to mean that there must be a separation between church and state. Judicial Watch cites an opinion by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, writing in a 2002 case: “… while the Federal Government may ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion,’ the States may pass laws that include or touch on religious matters so long as these laws do not impede free exercise rights or any other individual religious liberty interests.” Judicial Watch argues in its brief, citing the text and history of the Establishment Clause, that the First Amendment protects against the creation of a national church or religion and prohibits the federal government from favoring one religion over another.
“Judicial Watch is urging the Supreme Court to clarify the Establishment Clause so that lower courts and state and federal officials will have consistent constitutional principles they can follow,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Ten Commandments provide one of the foundations of our legal system and even are displayed in the Supreme Court.”
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