Jay Sekulow

Faith & Justice


ACLU Has No Legal Standing in 10 Commandments Case

posted by Jay Sekulow

I want to bring you an update on our efforts to get the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case involving the display of the Ten Commandments, a case I told you about in June. We filed our Petition for Writ of Certiorari at the high court a couple of months ago. Now, we have filed a reply brief arguing that the ACLU has no legal standing to bring a challenge against an Ohio courtroom display containing the Ten Commandments.

An appeals court declared unconstitutional a poster displayed by Judge James DeWeese that included the Ten Commandments as part of an exhibit on legal philosophy. In our reply brief filed with the Supreme Court, we contend that the appeals court erred in its decision and urged the high court to take the case.

 We represent Judge DeWeese.

At issue is a poster designed to illustrate the clash between different views of law and morality. The “Philosophies of Law in Conflict” poster features two columns of principles or precepts intended to show the contrast between legal philosophies based on moral absolutes and moral relativism. The judge used a version of the Ten Commandments as symbolic of moral absolutes, and a set of statements from sources such as the Humanist Manifesto as symbolic of moral relativism.

 

 

In our reply brief filed today, we assert that the ACLU lacks legal standing to bring the challenge, citing Supreme Court precedent that shows the mere observation of an unwelcome governmental display of religion does not give one legal standing to challenge the display in federal court. We also argue that the federal appeals court was wrong in holding that the display was unconstitutional, arguing the poster falls in line with those decisions of the Supreme Court recognizing “the strong role played by religion and religious traditions throughout our Nation’s history.” (Van Orden v. Perry, 2005)

“DeWeese’s poster is an affirmation of what the Founders and their successors saw as a simple and abiding truth; that a recognition of moral absolutes, which receive their permanence from a divine source, are critical in ‘restoring the moral fabric of this nation,'” the brief contends. “To assert that such an affirmation constitutes an impermissible endorsement of religion, as did the court below, is ‘to take a rigid, absolutist view of the Establishment Clause’ this Court has ‘consistently declined’ to adopt.” (Lynch v. Donnelly, 1984) 

According to the brief: “DeWeese’s statement that he agrees with the Founders in grounding morality in a divine source is no more an establishment of religion than what this Court itself has recognized regarding the historical and symbiotic role between religion and government.” The reply brief is posted here.

The Supreme Court has a perfect opportunity to make it clear that a governmental affirmation of moral absolutes, symbolized here by the Ten Commandments, does not violate the Constitution.

It’s time for the high court to set the record straight: the display by Judge DeWeese is a constitutionally-permissible method of explaining his legal and moral philosophy, the same philosophy embraced by our founders. 

We’re hopeful the Supreme Court takes this case. We’ll find out when the high court reconvenes for its new term in the fall.



Previous Posts

Jay Sekulow: Will the State Department finally speak out for Pastor Saeed Abedini?
Last Friday’s standing-room only hearing before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission was among the most dramatic I’ve witnessed.  There was outrage – outrage not just from me as I declared the State Department “AWOL” in our quest to free an American Pastor, Saeed Abedini -- a U.S. citiz

posted 11:50:49am Mar. 19, 2013 | read full post »

Jay Sekulow: Help Us Tell the Story of American Pastor Saeed, Imprisoned in Iran
One of the most important things we can do is keep the story of Pastor Saeed Abedini in the spotlight. This U.S. citizen is facing eight years in a deadly Iranian prison, convicted for his Christian faith. We know that the situation he faces gets worse day by day. He remains cut-off from speaking

posted 3:30:16pm Feb. 06, 2013 | read full post »

Jay Sekulow: American Pastor Saeed Barred From His Trial in Iran
It's unlike any judicial system in the world. On Monday, American Pastor Saeed Abedini went to court in Iran with his attorney to address charges of attempting to undermine the Iranian government. The real problem: he converted from Islam to Christianity 13 years ago and started working with house-c

posted 11:13:19am Jan. 24, 2013 | read full post »

Jay Sekulow: American Pastor to Face Trial in Iranian Prison
An American Pastor is being held in Iran’s most notorious prison – Pastor Saeed, a U.S. citizen, has been told that he “will hang” because of his Christian faith. And, now the Iranian government has put this case on the fast track – and scheduled a trial that’s just days away. After s

posted 3:11:54pm Jan. 15, 2013 | read full post »

Jay Sekulow: HHS Fines for Challenging Mandate? Not So Fast
We are on the front lines when it comes to challenging the HHS mandate which requires employers to provide health insurance for employees that include paying for abortion-producing drugs - or face still penalties including significant fines. To date, we have secured injunctions – putting the ma

posted 11:47:06am Jan. 09, 2013 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.