Lawsuit Filed in Response to Louisiana Law Mandating 10 Commandments Be Displayed in Public Schools 

Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash

By Lily Rusk 

BATON ROUGE, LA — The American Civil Liberties Union has filed on behalf of plaintiffs in Roake v. Brumley, a motion in federal court for a preliminary injunction to stop the 10 Commandments from being posted in Louisiana schools while the lawsuit is pending.

The ACLU said the lawsuit is in response to efforts to impose a law mandating the 10 Commandments be displayed in schools.

The motion stresses the need for judicial intervention because come August when school starts students in Louisiana will be surrounded with quotes such as “I AM the LORD thy God. Thou shalt have no other gods before me…Thou shalt not make thyself any graven images…Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain…Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” and “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

The pleading explains the precedent set by the Supreme Court in Stone v. Graham over 40 years ago when the court ruled posting the 10 Commandments in public school was a violation of the separation of church and state, according to the motion.

In this case, the ACLU, the ACLU of Louisiana, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation, with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP serving as pro bono counsel, represents the plaintiffs who are a multi-faith group of nine Louisiana families with children in public schools.

The plaintiffs also filed a motion to expedite briefing and the court’s consideration of the injunction request, according to the motion.

Rev. Darcy Roake, a plaintiff in the case, made the statement and said, “We are eager to ensure that our family’s religious-freedom rights are protected from day one of the upcoming school year. The 10 Commandments displays required under state law will create an unwelcoming and oppressive school environment for children, like ours, who don’t believe in the state’s official version of scripture.

“We believe that no child should feel excluded in public school because of their family’s faith tradition, and we are optimistic that the court will grant our motion for a preliminary injunction.”

On June 19, LA Gov. Jeff Landry signed a law requiring public schools to display the 10 Commandments in every classroom on “a poster or framed document that is at least 11 inches by 14 inches.”

According to the law, the Commandments must be the “central focus” of the display and “printed in a large, easily readable font.” The bill also requires it to be associated with Protestant beliefs.

In response to the law plaintiffs filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana June 24, alleging the law violates their rights under the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

About The Author

Lily Rusk is a first-year student at the University of California, Davis majoring in Philosophy with a Pre-Law focus. She hopes to go to law school and pursue a career in Criminal Defense. In her free time, Lily loves to read and listen to music.

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