ACLU of Florida, Inc. v. Dixie County, Florida

AU's Role: 
AU's Involvement Began: 
November 2011

Late in 2006, the Dixie County Commission allowed a local resident to install a five-foot, six-ton granite Ten Commandments monument on the steps of the county courthouse. The monument -- which has the phrase “LOVE GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS” chiseled into its base -- is the only object on the courthouse steps and is visible from the street.

In response, the ACLU of Florida filed a lawsuit in federal court. It argued that although the monument was purchased and maintained using private funds, its presence on the steps of the county courthouse led to the government endorsement of religion, in violation of the Establishment Clause. The trial court agreed, and ordered the removal of the monument; the County appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
We filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs, in November 2011. Our brief, which was joined by several religious organizations, traced the history of involvement by Religious Right groups and their political allies in the promotion of Ten Commandments displays, leading such displays to “communicate a message to non-Christians of outsider status in American political life."
The Court of Appeals heard oral argument in March 2012. We are awaiting a decision.