What Fresh Hell Is This?

July 29, 2015

You Have To Be Frickin Kiddin Me - New Kensington Ten Commandments Suit DISMISSED

Sorry for not posting this earlier.  I've been working up a PodCamp presentation.

An astute reader emailed me a link to this Trib piece the other day:
A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments monument in front of Valley Junior-Senior High School in New Kensington.

The ruling could bring an end to a three-year legal battle.

However, it does not address the underlying question of whether the monument is a prohibited government endorsement of religion or a permissible historical landmark.
That's because the opinion focused on whether the plaintiffs had any standing to bring the suit in the first place.  From the Trib:
U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry accepted New Kensington-Arnold School District's argument that resident Marie Schaub, her daughter, and the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation have not proven they have been sufficiently harmed by the monument to have standing in the case.
The harm, in my humble opinion, is to the Constitution and it's too bad the G.W. Bush appointed judge doesn't see that.

It's too bad this very "no harm no foul" decision got in the way of McVerry following Supreme Court precedent in that at a public school:
The pre-eminent purpose of posting the Ten Commandments, which do not confine themselves to arguably secular matters, is plainly religious in nature, and the posting serves no constitutional educational function. That the posted copies are financed by voluntary private contributions is immaterial, for the mere posting under the auspices of the legislature provides the official support of the state government that the Establishment Clause prohibits. Nor is it significant that the Ten Commandments are merely posted rather than read aloud, for it is no defense to urge that the religious practices may be relatively minor encroachments on the First Amendment.
It's too bad he didn't use the opportunity to point out the Supreme Court precedent that such Decalogue postings are clearly impermissible according to the Constitution.

And they have been for some time now.

From the Freedom From Religion Foundation:
Judge McVerry has not yet ruled on a companion case filed against the Connellsville Area School District over a similar monument.

"It is troubling that judges are closing the courthouse door on plaintiffs who simply want government actors to abide by the Constitution," said Barker.
 Let's hope McVerry doesn't find a way to bury that lawsuit, too.


Heir to the Throne said...

raise awareness of the “Separation of Church and State,” the doctrine that entered American jurisprudence because of Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, a Klansman who did it because he hated Roman Catholics .

Why no comments on the previous anti law enforcement post?

Support the Federal Law Enforcement Bill of Rights.

Ol' Froth said...

There he goes! Completly off topic again!

SamStone said...

Since when has the notion of "sufficiently harmed" be the yardstick for constitutional violations? So if I pay have to pay poll tax of a dollar to vote in my precinct, would McVerry say "That is less than a cup of coffee. No big harm"?? Being a resident of the district should be enough.

Not only is the ruling absurd, but it took him three years to come up with that ruling?? I think we have all been harmed by his waste of Court's time and money to come up with a null result, when it is crystal clear from past cases that the 10C's outside a public school is an illegal act.

Zeus0209 said...

“[T]o satisfy Article III’s standing requirements, a plaintiff must show (1) it has suffered
an ‘injury in fact’ that is (a) concrete and particularized and (b) actual or imminent, not
conjectural or hypothetical; (2) the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action of the
defendant; and (3) it is likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that the injury will be redressed
by a favorable decision.”

So he (McVerry) hid behind shoddy case law as an easy way out of a sticky one. He either coward-ed out or is just as delusional as the rest of New Ken. Either way, the case law is what needs addressed. IMHO, laws aren't supposed to be focused on inclusion for all, rather, to be sure to be absent of exclusivity for any. The legal requirement of "injury" arising from an otherwise static environment is inconsistent with the notion of "unalienable rights endowed by a creator". The presupposition by that case law is that something has to be taken away before it's considered a right?!?

flybylight said...

Thank you for posting this. Absolutely unacceptable, and further research is required. Especially want to research implementing an Allehgeny-County-wide law (which wouldn't help New Ken) banning such things. After the fight earlier this year over posting "In G-d We Trust" in the Council Chambers, we seem to need a backlash movement.

This particular movement is an attempt to gain a foothold in marking the United States as a "Christian Nation," in other words to officially sanction xenophobia. It is wrong-minded and we should be (and are) pushing hard against it.

Want to learn more about this case. After Sunday's election, that is. (Vote for me, get the Councilperson on the inside?)

Heir to the Throne said...

Since when has the notion of "sufficiently harmed" be the yardstick for constitutional violations?>
This will be deemed OT because it disagrees with Dayvoe and Ol. Also because It is also anti law enforcement.

This case is an example of notion of "sufficiently harmed" be the yardstick for constitutional violations.
The district court granted summary judgment dismissing these claims on a narrow ground. “Qualified immunity shields police officers from liability for civil damages where their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” . . . Noting that, until recently, some of our decisions suggested that an excessive force claim will not lie if the plaintiff suffered only “de minimis injuries,” the court concluded that the police officers were entitled to qualified immunity because, “as unreasonable as it may sound, a reasonable officer could have believed that beating a subdued and compliant Mr. Davis while causing only a concussion, scalp laceration, and bruising with almost no permanent damage did not violate the Constitution.

Ol' Froth said...

Mr. P.T. Gumby, it has nothing to do with disagreeing with you, but everything to do with your links having at best, a teneous connection to a post, and usually, no connection at all.

Heir to the Throne said...

I have been shown to be wrong.

Thanks for explaining that
"a reasonable officer could have believed that beating a subdued and compliant Mr. Davis while causing only a concussion, scalp laceration, and bruising with almost no permanent damage did not violate the Constitution"
or "plaintiff suffered only “de minimis injuries" does not show the notion of "sufficiently harmed" be the yardstick for constitutional violations.

Ol' Froth said...

And there you go again. At best, a tenous connection, because it has the words "sufficiently harmed" but really having nothing to do about the post at hand.