BALTIMORE – On Friday, Alliance Defending Freedom and Jones Day attorneys representing the Allegany County commissioners filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks to uproot a Ten Commandments monument on the county courthouse grounds that is nearly identical to one the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2005.
Jeffrey Davis, who resides in a neighboring county but owns property in Allegany County, filed the lawsuit to have the monument, located on the courthouse lawn, removed because “he is offended” by it, his complaint from March says.
“A Ten Commandments monument isn’t unconstitutional simply because someone says he is offended by it,” said ADF Senior Counsel Brett Harvey. “The Supreme Court clarified this issue when it upheld a virtually identical monument in Texas. The emotional response of an offended passerby doesn’t automatically amount to a violation of the Establishment Clause.”
In 1957, the Fraternal Order of Eagles donated the monument, which stands not far from a monument to George Washington. In its 2005 decision in Van Orden v. Perry, the high court upheld the constitutionality of a nearly identical monument, also donated by FOE, on the grounds of the Texas Capitol complex. The court ruled that the monument did not violate the Establishment Clause.