ACLU on Commandments Cases

WASHINGTON -- The American Civil Liberties Union today applauded a Supreme Court ruling that Ten Commandments displays in two Kentucky courthouses are unconstitutional. The ruling came in a case brought by the ACLU of Kentucky.

The following can be attributed to Steven R. Shapiro, Legal Director of the ACLU.

"We are gratified with the Supreme Court's decision, which properly recognizes that the Ten Commandments are an inherently religious text."

"Today's ruling is consistent with what the Court has ruled before. Our Constitution's ban on government entanglement with religion is good for both government and religion. It keeps religion free, and it allows government to represent us all."

"Ultimately, we show more respect for the Ten Commandments when we do not deny their inherently religious message."

In a second decision today, the Court upheld a stone monument display of the Ten Commandments on the Texas statehouse grounds. However, no opinion commanded a majority of the Court. The critical fifth vote was provided by Justice Breyer, who acknowledged the religious message of the Ten Commandments but concluded that message was offset in Texas by the fact that the monument has stood on the statehouse grounds for 40 years.

"While we disagree with that conclusion," Shapiro added, "a majority of the Supreme Court in both cases has now clearly reaffirmed the principle that government may not promote a religious message through its display of the Ten Commandments."

ACLU press release