10th Circuit Court of Appeals: Haskell County 10 Commandments Monument must go

By ROBERT BOCZKIEWICZ World Correspondent

Published: 8/22/2009  2:26 AM

Last Modified: 8/22/2009  3:44 AM

DENVER — Haskell County commissioners lost another battle Friday in their ongoing court fight to have a Ten Commandments monument remain on the courthouse lawn in Stigler.

A federal appeals court denied a request that the commissioners said was intended to avoid the unnecessary cost of prematurely removing the monument, which the court declared unconstitutional in June.

The officials had wanted the court to delay implementing its decision so that the county wouldn’t have to remove the monument before the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether it will accept the county’s appeal.

Judges of the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 against staying the ruling. The commissioners asked for the stay Tuesday, a day after U.S. District Judge Ronald White in Muskogee ordered them to remove the 8-foot-tall monument. White’s order did not give a deadline for the monument’s removal. He was required to issue a judgment in accord with the appeals court’s June 8 decision because the lawsuit challenging the monument is in his court.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma and a Haskell County resident sued to have the monument removed shortly after it was erected in 2004. The appellate judges agreed 3-0 in June with the ACLU and resident James W. Green that the monument violates the U.S. Constitution because its primary effect is to endorse religion.

The commissioners on Tuesday told the judges that a “recall and stay of the mandate is appropriate to preserve the status quo until the case has run its final course.” It is expected to be months before the Supreme Court decides whether to hear the county’s appeal. The judges of the appeals court split 6-6 on July 30, denying the commissioners’ request for the full court to reconsider the June decision of a three-judge panel.

The Supreme Court accepts appeals in only about 2 percent of the cases it is asked to review. Attorneys for the commissioners contend that the Stigler case has a strong chance of being accepted by the high court.

The commissioners argued in Tuesday’s request that the tie vote and the “spirited” position of judges who favored rehearing the case “illustrate that this case is a good candidate for Supreme Court review.” But attorney Daniel Mach of the ACLU said previously that “the Court of Appeals got it right. There’s no reason for the Supreme Court to take this case.”

By ROBERT BOCZKIEWICZ World Correspondent

via Tulsa World: Court: Monument must go .

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One response to “10th Circuit Court of Appeals: Haskell County 10 Commandments Monument must go”

  1. Followers of this blog know that I have been keeping an eye on this case. It will be interesting to see what happens next, as I doubt the commissioners will take down the monument.

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