The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that it is unconstitutional for the Ten Commandments to be displayed in an Ohio courtroom.
On Wednesday, the three-judge panel upheld a lower court's decision that Richland County Common Pleas Judge James DeWeese violated the separation of church and state when he hung a poster of the scriptures in his courtroom.
"DeWeese's posters are situated in a courtroom, a public space, and were placed on the wall by a sitting judge charged with the decoration of that space while in office and presiding in the same courtroom," noted Judge Eric L. Clay in the court opinion.
"As such, we reject DeWeese's contention that the display constitutes private religious expression protected by the Free Speech Clause, falling beyond the bounds of Establishment Clause scrutiny," the opinion concluded.
The American Center for Law and Justice, the Christian legal group representing the Ohio judge, disagreed with the appellate court's ruling.
"Neither DeWeese's discussion of the contrast between legal philosophies based on moral absolutes as opposed to moral relativism, nor his use of the Decalogue as a means to illustrate that contrast bespeak a constitutionally problematic religious purpose," the ACLJ said in a statement.
"Moreover, a reasonable observer of the poster would view the poster as a statement about legal philosophy, morality, and ethics, not theology or religion," the statement read.
The ACLJ said they were in the process of considering other legal options.