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ACLJ: Supreme Court Must Uphold Constitutionality of Ten Commandments.

WASHINGTON -- The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), specializing in constitutional law, said today the Supreme Court of the United States has an important opportunity to uphold the history and heritage of our nation by declaring public displays of the Ten Commandments constitutional. The ACLJ filed amicus briefs in support of the Commandments displays in the Texas and Kentucky cases heard by the court today.

"This is not about endorsing a specific religion, but recognizing the fact that the Ten Commandments have played a vital role in the development of our legal history and heritage," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, who attended today's oral arguments and is involved in numerous Commandments cases, including two pending before the high court. "The Commandments have played a key role in the development of Western law and represent an integral part of the legal underpinnings of our system. No one denies the religious significance the Commandments hold for many. But that does not render them unconstitutional. The high court has repeatedly acknowledged that many of our legal, political, and personal values derive historically from religious teachings. And the court has long acknowledged that when religion and culture intersect there are traditions and practices that are appropriate. We're hopeful the high court determines the Commandments to be not only appropriate, but constitutional as well."

The ACLJ filed amicus briefs in both the Texas and Kentucky cases and the brief in the Texas case was co-authored by Harold J. Berman, the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law at Emory University. Berman is also the James Barr Ames Professor of Law, emeritus, at Harvard University where he taught from 1948 to 1985 and again in 1986 and 1989.

The brief, posted at www.aclj.org., provides a detailed analysis of the role that the Commandments has played in the formation of Western law and argues that the Commandments are "an integral part of the legal heritage of Western civilization." The brief states: "To require its removal from the walls of American courthouses and other public settings because it refers to the God of Israel as a source of fundamental legal obligations would be similar to requiring the removal of the Declaration of Independence because it refers to 'Nature's God' and to 'the Creator' and to 'divine providence' as the source of the equality of all persons and of the universal rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

The ACLJ, which is involved in numerous Commandments cases nationwide, has two pending before the Supreme Court - a case involving a display outside public high schools in Adams County, Ohio and a case involving the display of a framed poster of the Commandments in the courtroom of a state judge in Ohio.

Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice specializes in constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C. The ACLJ is online at www.aclj.org.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Mar 2, 2005
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