Courtroom interior_newWritten by Don Byrd

The Oklahoma Supreme Court in July ruled unconstitutional a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the State Capitol. The Oklahoma Constitution, the Court emphasized, explicitly bans the use of public property even indirectly for the benefit of any religious purpose.*

Since then, state officials have taken steps to try and avoid having to remove the monument. The Governor vowed to keep the display in place while pursuing appeals, and lawyers for the state asked for a reconsideration, which the Court rejected.

On Friday, a county district court court judge gave the Capitol Preservation Commission 30 days to remove the monument. Associated Press reports:

Assistant Solicitor General Cara Rodriguez had urged [Judge Thomas] Prince to allow [Attorney General Scott] Pruitt’s office to raise new arguments and to allow the monument to be covered while the legal fight continued. The judge refused.

“The court said remove, it didn’t say cover,” Prince said during the hearing. “The monument’s to be removed from the grounds of the state Capitol.”

The deadline to remove the monument is October 12. Stay tuned.

*Article 2, Section 5 states: “No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion . . . “

For more on this issue, check out the BJC’s page on religious displays.