Timeline of Ten Commandments Decisions

1950s: The Fraternal Order of Eagles placed Ten Commandments monuments in public parks, at schools, and in front of city and state municipal buildings around the country as gifts to honor individuals, respected groups, and special events. Many of these monoliths are the subject of lawsuits. The first was donated in 1955 in Milwaukee, Wis., in a public event involving "Ten Commandments" director Cecil B. DeMille and actor Yul Brenner, who played Pharaoh Ramses in the film.

1980: In Stone v. Graham, The U.S. Supreme Court found unconstitutional a


law requiring the posting of the commandments in cl


srooms. It is the only time the Supreme Court h


addressed the issue.

May 2001: The U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider a Ten Commandments c


e from




, though Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thom


said they would like to address the issue. In August, a federal judge ordered city officials to remove


's Ten Commandments monument. The city spent $63,000 in legal fees before moving it to private property. The c


e may be important because, some say, in declining to hear it the Supreme Court may be indicating that it is not, at this point, going to tamper with the decisions of lower courts to bar the monuments from public land.

February 2002: The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Indiana Gov. Frank O'Bannon, who wanted to display a 7-foot stone monument of the Ten Commandments at the state capitol. Read a
Feb. 26, 2002 BBC news story about the appeal.

October 2002: The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a


legislative directive to put a Ten Commandments monument on


's state capitol grounds w


unconstitutional. This c


e stands out because it w


decided on a higher level court than most other such c



November 2002:


District Judge Myron Thompson rules that the 5,300-pound granite monument of the Ten Commandments placed in the rotunda of the





by Chief Justice Roy Moore violates the First Amendment's Establishment Clause and must be removed.

August 22, 2003


suspended for defying a federal court order to move the Ten Commandments monument.

November 3, 2003

: The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore (Moore v. Glassroth). Lower federal courts had ruled that


violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

November 14, 2003: Alabama's judicial ethics panel removed Chief Justice Roy Moore from office for defying a federal judge's order to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the state Supreme Court building. 

October 4, 2004

: The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed an appeal of former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore , upholding a decision by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary that removed him from office.

October 12, 2004

: The U.S. Supreme Court said it will consider the constitutionality of posting the Ten Commandments on government land and in government buildings. It will hear arguments in February on two cases: Van Orden v. Perry, in which a homeless man contends that the a Ten Commandments monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds is an unconstitutional attempt to establish state-sponsored religion, and McCreary County v. ACLU, in which a lower court ruled that the Ten Commandments could not be posted in Kentucky courtrooms. Read an Oct. 12, 2004, Associated Press story posted by Fox News.