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Ten Commandments Displayed in Courthouse

Court rules that display violates First Amendment.

Georgia
State:
Key point: A display of the Ten Commandments on a courthouse wall may violate the first amendment's prohibition of the establishment of religion. But, such a display would be permissible if part of a larger display of other important documents in the evolution of American law.

A federal district court in Georgia ruled that the display of the Ten Commandments on a courthouse wall violated the first amendment's ban on the establishment of religion. The court emphasized that no other source of American law was displayed, and accordingly the display represented an impermissible promotion of Judaism and Christianity. However, the court quoted with approval from the following statement of United States Supreme Court Justice Stevens in a recent case:

A carving of Moses holding the Ten Commandments, if that is the only adornment on a courtroom wall, conveys an equivocal message, perhaps ...

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Posted:
  • January 3, 1994

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