The Ten Commandments Case

Ken AshfordGodstuff, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

It’s been a long while since I got legal on yo’ ass, but I’m a lawyer and a Constitutional afficando, so it is high time I write something of substance on constitutional law.

For a background on the Ten Commandments case being argued in the Supreme Court, read here

The case (at least the "Kentucky" part of it) involves the display of the Ten Commandments in a courthouse in Kentucky.  The TCs were privately donated.  Standing alone, it was clear (and a court so ruled) that the TCs violated the Constitution. 

So the display of the TCs became part of a larger exhibit — one that featured (among other historical documents) the Constitution, the Declaration of Independance, the Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta, etc.  The entire display was called ""Foundations of American Law and Government Display".

And that’s what the fight is about.

The first thing I want to address is this quote:

Mathew Staver, who represents the Kentucky counties and school district, said the displays aren’t about religion, but rather the history of American law.

"One of the eleven frames deals with the discussion of foundations of law. It describes a number of documents that influenced American law," he said. "There’s no question the Ten Commandments influenced American law."

Does anyone really believe that displays of the Ten Commandments "in public buildings aren’t about religion"?  If the displays are not "about religion", then why do so many religious groups support those displays?  Why, for example, doesn’t this guy find another cause to rally behind?

Of COURSE, they are about religion. 

Fortunately, the Sixth Circuit was not so stupid.  They even realized Kentucky’s modification of the display (to include other historical documents) was a "sham” to dhie the religious promotional intent behind the display of the TCs.

Now, what evidence is there that the Ten Commandments forms the foundation of American law, as the religious groups claim?

Well, let’s take a closer look at the TCs to see if they are reflected in American law.  What’s the first commandment?

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!  I’m sorry, but we have some nice parting gifts!  Before we even get far out of the box, we find a commandment which contradicts American law. 

Why?  Because the Constitution protects freedom of religion.  You have the fundamental right to believe whatever god (or gods or "no god") that you want.  Yet, the first commandment on the goddamned tablet tells us that you can’t have any other fucking god?   That’s a direct contradiction of American law!  So don’t believe them when they say that the Ten Commandments serve as a basis for American law.  (There is, by the way, no historical precedent for their argument either — no historical writing by a founding father or anything like that.  Simply put, pro-TCers pull this out of their butt).