On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to side with a lower court that ordered a New Mexico city to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the lawn outside City Hall. The case was called by Civil liberties advocates, a victory for the separation of church and state.
WRAL News reports Peter Simonson, ACLU of New Mexico Executive Director of saying that it sends a “strong message that the government should not be in the business of picking and choosing which sets of religious beliefs enjoy special favor in the community.”
However, WRAL News also reports David Cortman, a senior counsel and vice president of U.S. litigation with Alliance Defending Freedom, acknowledging the outcome did nothing to resolve confusion in lower courts involving such monuments.
The decision came after attorneys for the city argued that the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ignored previous rulings by the Supreme Court that simply being offended by such a monument did not give someone a legal basis to challenge the statue.
In similar cases, a Ten Commandments poster in a Kentucky courthouse was found constitutional. However a monument on the grounds of a public building in Arkansas was determined to be unconstitutional.
According yo the city, it avoided endorsing a particular religion by placing disclaimers on the lawn stating the area was a public forum for citizens and that the privately funded monuments did not necessarily reflect the opinions of the city.
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