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McCreary County v. ACLU

Law Dictionary

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Constitutional Law Keyed to Sullivan

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Citation. 545 U. S. 844.

Brief Fact Summary.  

Two counties placed the Ten Commandments citing King James Version on the walls of the court house.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.  

Placing religious documents on court house walls is a violation of the Establishment Clause and will not be allowed.

Facts.  The County of McCreary and the County of Pulaski had a display of a gold-framed copy of King James Version of the Ten Commandments placed on the wall of their respective court houses. The displays even had the religious citation of the Book of Exodus 20:3-17. This was placed so that all citizens could see the display. In the first case the ACLU sued in federal court for this display. A month later the legislative bodies of each county authorized a second display. This one stated the Ten Commandments are the precedent legal code upon which the civil and criminal codes of the counties of Kentucky are founded. The District court ordered the displays be removed. Then the counties tried another display, this one showing the Ten Commandments and 8 other historical relevant documents.


Whether placing the Ten Commandments on the wall of a public court house is a violation of the Establishment Clause.

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