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6th Circuit Court of Appeals: First Amendment does not demand wall between church and state

In victory for Ten Commandments posted in Kentucky, court criticizes ACLU for misusing concept that is outside of the Constitution

CINCINNATI - In a ruling handed down today affirming as constitutional a Ten Commandments display in Mercer County, Ken., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit declared, "The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state."  The court also criticized the ACLU's repeated reference to the construct, calling it "tiresome" and "extra-constitutional."

"For years, the Alliance Defense Fund has argued against claims by the ACLU and its allies that their interpretation of the Establishment Clause is a correct interpretation.  The good news for Americans is that today's ruling says the ACLU's interpretation is outside the Constitution.  This is a dramatic rollback of the far-left's misguided legal agenda," said ADF Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb.

In American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky v. Mercer County, the court wrote that "the ACLU makes repeated reference to 'the separation of church and state.'  This extra-constitutional construct has grown tiresome.  The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state."

The court went on to note that the ACLU's argument that the Ten Commandments are religious does not answer the question of whether the display actually endorses religion.  The court stated that the ACLU "erroneously-though perhaps intentionally" equates merely recognizing religion as government endorsement of religion.  "To endorse is necessarily to recognize, but the converse does not follow," the court wrote.

The full text of the court's opinion can be read at www.telladf.org/UserDocs/ACLUvMCopinion.pdf.  ADF attorneys had no role in the appeal, but attorney and ally Frank Manion, with the assistance of a friend-of-the-court brief funded by ADF, was successful in his efforts to have the lawsuit dismissed prior to the ACLU's appeal of the dismissal to the 6th Circuit.


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