On Thursday, September 18, 2014, an Oklahoma judge ruled that the Ten Commandments monument on the Oklahoma capitol grounds is legal under the Oklahoma Constitution.
Liberty Institute, along with Oklahoma’s Attorney General, represents the State of Oklahoma in the case. While Liberty Institute is not authorized to communicate on behalf of the State of Oklahoma, Hiram Sasser, Liberty Institute’s Director of Litigation, issued the following statement on behalf of Liberty Institute:
“This is a great victory for the people of Oklahoma! Ten Commandments monuments are routinely upheld as constitutional across the country. This is just one more example of how the Ten Commandments monuments may be constitutionally displayed.”
Liberty Institute is committed to enforcing the law that allows Ten Commandments displays in every state across the nation.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS: IT’S OKAY TO DISPLAY
Oklahoma Rep. Mike Ritze proposed legislation for the privately funded monument in 2009. The proposal received bi-partisan support from both the state House of Representatives and the Senate, with former Democratic Gov. Brad Henry signing the bill into law. The law specifically authorizes Liberty Institute to “prepare and present a legal defense of the monument.”
Ritze and his family paid approximately $10,000 to have the 6-foot-tall monument built and installed. The monument is modeled after the Ten Commandments Monument displayed outside the Texas state Capitol. In 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court held that an identical Ten Commandments monument constitutional in Van Orden v. Perry, a case that Liberty assisted the Texas Attorney General in defending.
The Oklahoma legislation establishing the monument recognizes:
ACLU ATTACKS A COMMUNITY’S RELIGIOUS HERITAGE
In August 2013, the ACLU filed a state court lawsuit seeking the removal of the Ten Commandments monument from the Oklahoma state capitol grounds. The Oklahoma Legislature and Governor previously enacted legislation authorizing Liberty Institute to represent the State of Oklahoma alongside the Oklahoma Attorney General to defend the State in this type of case involving a Ten Commandments monument.
At the time, Sasser commented, “We believe Attorney General Pruitt and his top notch legal team will do an outstanding job defending the State of Oklahoma and leading on this case and Liberty Institute looks forward to assisting them in this matter.”
AGGRESSIVE ACTION TO SAVE MONUMENT
After considerable legal action, in June 2014 a Liberty Institute attorney appeared alongside attorneys from the office of the Oklahoma Attorney General before an Oklahoma state court in support of a motion for summary judgment in favor of the Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol.
Now that a judge ruled the monument to be constitutional, the ACLU has the option to appeal the case, and Liberty Institute is ready to continue its defense. Additionally, American Atheists filed a lawsuit in federal court (the ACLU lawsuit was in state court). Liberty Institute is also serving as counsel for Oklahoma alongside the Oklahoma Attorney General in the federal lawsuit.
Liberty Institute has a long history of defending monuments, displays and memorials. We successfully restored the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Cross, and we are currently fighting to save the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross from being torn down.
Groups like the ACLU and Freedom From Religion Foundation are committed to removing these monuments and memorials from public view. But Liberty Institute is committed to enforcing the law that allows appropriate Ten Commandments displays and veterans memorials that are in compliance with the United States Constitution.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
But, we can’t do this alone. We need your continued prayer and generous financial support to continue the important work of enforcing the law that allows appropriate Ten Commandments monuments and veterans memorials with religious imagery.
Please consider a gift today to help us fight back against the ACLU and restore America’s religious liberty in one vital area of public life after another. Your support, by God’s grace, produces victories like this one. But there are many more battles to fight, and we need your help. Thank you!
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About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches, in the military and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit www.LibertyInstitute.org.