Leading a 23-state coalition, Attorney General Ken Paxton today filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Bloomfield, New Mexico’s Ten Commandments monument on its city hall lawn. In February, a divided 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to reconsider a three-judge panel’s decision upholding a district court’s order to remove the monument.
“The Supreme Court has ruled that a passive monument such as a Ten Commandments display, accompanied by other displays acknowledging our nation’s religious heritage, are not an establishment of religion,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Governments shouldn’t be forced to censor religion’s role in history simply because a few people claim they are offended by it.”
Guidance from the Supreme Court in City of Bloomfield v. Felix is important because various circuit courts are using different standards to evaluate whether Ten Commandments monuments such as the one in New Mexico are constitutional. As Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas pointed out six years ago, it is “difficult to imagine an area of the law more in need of clarity” than the constitutionality of displays of religious imagery on government property.
Texas is joined in the amicus brief by the attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, along with Governor Matt Bevin of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Maine Governor Paul LePage.