Court Refuses Ten Commandments Case

WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 29, 2001 ( The U.S. Supreme Court today allowed the removal of a granite monument of the Ten Commandments from the front of a city hall in Indiana, letting stand a ruling that the display unconstitutionally endorses religion, Reuters reported.

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The justices turned aside an appeal by the city of Elkhart, Indiana. The city had argued that the monument, which contains the text of the Ten Commandments as part of a larger civil display, did not violate church-state separation under the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court action, in denying the appeal, does not set a national precedent.

The monument has stood on the lawn outside of Elkhart´s City Hall since its donation by the Fraternal Order of Eagles, a service organization, in 1958 as part of a national program.

The city defended the monument as a historical artifact and one of a number of displays across the country depicting America´s heritage.

Two Elkhart residents, represented by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, sued the city in 1998 to get rid of the monument near the building´s main entrance.

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