Court Divided On Ten Commandments Cases

2005

In Van Orden v. Perry, the U.S. Supreme Court finds that a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Texas state capitol does not violate the First Amendment’s establishment clause barring the government from passing laws “respecting an establishment of religion.” The Court refers to the nation’s tradition of recognizing the commandments’ historical meaning.

In McCreary County v. ACLU, copies of the Ten Commandments were displayed in the courthouses and schools of two Kentucky counties. The Court finds in this case that the displays violated the establishment clause because their purpose was to advance religion.