Thursday, July 19, 2001

Commandments ruling is appealed

Cincinnati court may get case

The Associated Press

        LONDON, Ky. — A conservative legal defense organization filed an appeal Wednesday to a ruling that requires the Ten Commandments to be removed from public buildings in three Kentucky counties.

        Mathew Staver, an attorney for the Liberty Counsel in Orlando, Fla., said he asked that the appeal be sent to the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in March that Ohio's motto, “With God All Things Are Possible,” is constitutional.

        In that ruling, the justices noted a difference between the establishment of religion and the public acknowledgment of religion.

        “I don't believe the Constitution requires us to re move part of our history simply because it has been shaped by religion,” Mr. Staver said.

        The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in November 1999 after the Harlan County school board and the McCreary and Pulaski fiscal courts posted the commandments. U.S. District Judge Jennifer Coffman ruled in June that the displays are unconstitutional.

        Mr. Staver said he believes Ms. Coffman erred in ordering the commandments' removal.

        “There is a distinct difference between the establishment of religion and the acknowledgment of religion,” he said, pointing to the Ohio motto case.

        The appeals court could rule by next spring.


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