Court turns away appeal over commandments display

AP News
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Posted: Oct 03, 2011 3:37 PM
Court turns away appeal over commandments display

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear the appeal of an Ohio judge wanting to display a poster of the Ten Commandments in his courtroom.

The display has been covered with a drape since a federal judge ordered Richland County Common Pleas Judge James DeWeese to remove it in October 2009. DeWeese also had posted a label above it bearing the word "Censored."

DeWeese that he is disappointed but knew his effort to get the Supreme Court to hear the case was a long shot, the Mansfield News Journal reported.

"I will probably eventually take the display down," he told the newspaper.

DeWeese hung the poster in his Mansfield courtroom in 2006 after the U.S. Supreme Court let stand lower-court rulings that another Ten Commandment poster he hung in 2000 violated separation between church and state.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation sued, and the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled the display endorsed religious views and was unconstitutional.

The appeals judges rejected DeWeese's contention that the display was private religious expression protected by the Constitution, noting that the poster was in a public space and was placed on the wall by a sitting judge.

The Supreme Court's decision not to hear the latest appeal should be the final word and "hopefully put an end to Judge DeWeese's misguided efforts to inject religion into the courtroom," Mike Honahan, a volunteer attorney for the ACLU, told The Associated Press.