November 2011 Church & State | AU Bulletin

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear a case involving an Ohio judge who displayed a poster in his courtroom contrasting the Ten Commandments with secular teachings.

The high court’s Oct. 3 action means earlier rulings that found Ohio Common Pleas Court Judge James DeWeese had violated separation of church and state will stand. DeWeese’s poster was labeled “Philosophies of Law in Conflict,” and it included his own commentary.

“The cases passing through this courtroom demonstrate we are paying a high cost in increased crime and other social ills for moving away from moral absolutism [like the Ten Commandments] to moral relativism… Our Founders saw the necessity of moral absolutes,” DeWeese said on his poster.

Americans United filed a friend-of-the-court brief in 2010, arguing that DeWeese’s poster is an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion and should be removed. When a federal appeals court held that DeWeese must take his poster down, AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn applauded the ACLU Ohio Foundation v. DeWeese decision.

“Judge DeWeese was improperly promoting his personal religious beliefs in his courtroom, and I’m glad the appeals court put a stop to it” Lynn said.