Posting the Ten Commandments Okay...In some cases. |

TBC Staff

'Legal analysis' with Decalogue okayed for courtroom [Excerpts]

The same federal court that ruled an Ohio county judge's display of the Ten Commandments in his courtroom unconstitutional six years ago has said the judge can display a legal analysis that includes God's moral law.

Richland County Court Judge James DeWeese was ordered in 2002 to remove a poster displaying the Ten Commandments from his courtroom wall. DeWeese complied, but four years later posted a new display called "Philosophies of Law in Conflict."

"It contains a commentary on his view about this conflict in our society between moral absolutism and moral relativism," explains Francis J. Manion, senior counsel with the American Center for Law & Justice. "The one he symbolizes with the Ten Commandments; and the other he symbolizes with what he calls 'Seven Humanist Precepts,' which he's taken from various sources such as the infamous Humanist Manifesto."
Manion, who describes the display as "an attempt to foster an intellectual and philosophical debate," defended DeWeese against a new contempt charge filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
"I think a first-year law student -- having taken 'Civil Procedure' and understanding what 'contempt' is and what injunctions are and what the scope of injunctions is -- would not have believed, I hesitate to say it but, in good faith that this was a legitimate motion for contempt," says the attorney.
U.S. District Judge Kathleen O'Malley apparently agreed. She dismissed the contempt charge against DeWeese, writing, "the Court can find no principled basis upon which to find that, or even fully consider whether, the new display is constitutionally impermissible."  Manion believes the complaint filed by the ACLU was nothing more than legal harassment of Judge DeWeese.