long legal fight over the Ten Commandments could be in the future
for Alabama. However, if they have to, supporters have indicated they will take
the fight all the way to the Supreme Court and foot the bill.
Coming later in the current session, and
expected to be passed by the state House of Representatives is a constitutional
amendment allowing the Ten Commandments to be posted on all state
property, including schools. Already,
with a 26-0 vote the state senate has passed it.
The governor however does not have to sign the measure, since
it is an amendment.
Although nearly everyone involved, including
opponents, sees an inevitable fight in court, the state is a long
way from entering a court battle to post the Commandments.
Sponsor of the bill in the House is state
Representative DuWayne Bridges (Republican-Valley) who said, “We anticipate
a court challenge, and we are prepared to go to court.”
In 1980, when the Kentucky Legislature mandated
the display in state schools, it was the last time the U.S. Supreme
Court heard a case involving the Commandments in schools. However, supporters say, because it would give
schools the choice to display the Commandments the Alabama amendment
Representative Bridges said, “ It doesn’t
seem like our educational system is working for us. What would be wrong for young people to read and adopt them?”
The amendment was called “the kind of meaningless
symbolism Alabamians love a great deal because the politicians keep
giving it to them,” by David Langum, president of the Alabama chapter
of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Dean Young, executive director of the Christian
Family Association said, “It wouldn’t be a new thing for me to raise
money to fight issues like that.”
Since more conservative judges have been
appointed to the federal benches, Young and Bridges said they believe
they have a good chance at winning.
They also said that the U.S. Supreme Court
is more conservative than it used to be.
Experts say, the Commandments could be displayed
without any other document around them, something that makes it more
vulnerable to a challenge under the Alabama amendment. However, after a school posts the Commandments,
any legal fight concerning the amendment would have to start.
Involving religious laws, Alabama has been
no stranger to legal fights. A
school prayer bill and a law that allows student-led prayer at school
functions has been enacted by the legislature although federal courts
struck down both with the Supreme Court disallowing the latter.
(Taylor Bright, “Ala. Could be in for long
legal fight over Ten Commandments,” Scripps Howard News Service, February
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