In Humansville, Mo., pop. 950, the school district is paying $45,000 to a woman who sued to get an activist judge to order the removal of an 11-by-14-inch Ten Commandments plaque that has been hanging on the cafeteria wall for six years. Like Moore, the superintendent stuck to his principles and refused to remove the plaque.
In Nebraska, an anonymous ACLU atheist sued the city of Plattsmouth to remove a Ten Commandments monument, which he claims "alienates" him, that is situated in an isolated corner of a large city park, and an 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel narrowly ruled for the ACLU. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court granted rehearing by the entire panel, who heard oral argument on Sept. 15.
In Texas, U.S. District Judge Sim Lake ordered that a Bible displayed in a monument to memorialize philanthropist William Mosher outside the Harris County Civil Courts Building must be removed within 10 days and the county must pay $41,000 in court costs and attorney's fees. In August the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the order pending appeal.
The Duluth, Minn., city council voted 5-4 to settle the ACLU's case against a Ten Commandments monument that had stood on the lawn of City Hall for 47 years. The Duluth News Tribune urged settlement because of fear that paying the ACLU's attorney's fees could cost the city up to $90,000.
Everett, Wash., is defending a granite Ten Commandments monument that has stood for decades in front of the old City Hall. The city has already spent $70,000 to defend itself and costs are expected to exceed $100,000. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in August ruled unconstitutional a Pennsylvania law that required teachers to lead schoolchildren in the Pledge of Allegiance or the "Star Spangled Banner." Chalk up another ACLU victory.
On the other hand, U.S. District Court Judge Bruce Jenkins tossed out a lawsuit challenging a Ten Commandments monument in Pleasant Grove Park in Salt Lake City, which had been donated by the Fraternal Order of Eagles in 1971. Jenkins based his decision, which cancels the need for a trial, in part on a 1973 ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a similar Salt Lake City case that described the commandments as a source of law for the benefit of both the religious and the unchurched.
Remember the cross in the Los Angeles County seal that the ACLU intimidated the county into removing because it feared losing an expensive lawsuit and having to pay the ACLU's attorney's fees? The new design shows the San Gabriel Mission at an angle that conceals the cross and makes the church look like an apartment building or a Wal-Mart.
There is a solution for this judicial impudence. Congress should pass legislation to remove from the federal courts their jurisdiction to hear these outrageous challenges to the Ten Commandments and the Pledge of Allegiance. Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter said, "There needs to be better guidance provided for state and local governments as to what appropriate displays of the Ten Commandments are acceptable." Excuse me. Our guidance should come from our elected representatives, not from a de facto oligarchy of supremacist judges who overturn centuries-old laws and customs.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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