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.That's because the opinion focused on whether the plaintiffs had any standing to bring the suit in the first place. From the Trib:
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.
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.Let's hope McVerry doesn't find a way to bury that lawsuit, too.
"It is troubling that judges are closing the courthouse door on plaintiffs who simply want government actors to abide by the Constitution," said Barker.