USA, il monumento dei dieci comandamenti discusso alla Corte Suprema

(Fonte: Bloomberg)
The U.S. Supreme Court, hearing arguments on whether a 6-foot-tall Ten Commandments monument can remain on the Texas state Capitol grounds, debated when government may acknowledge the role of religion in public life. Several justices expressed support for letting the monument remain on the Capitol grounds. They noted that many legislatures open their sessions with a prayer and that the high court itself has a decorative frieze that shows Moses, holding a tablet depicting the commandments, among other historical lawgivers. “You don’t object to that,” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said to Duke University law professor Erwin Chemerinsky, representing homeless lawyer Thomas Van Orden of Austin, who challenged the monument. Later in the argument, though, she told the Texas attorney general that every monument on the state Capitol grounds “conveys a message of state endorsement.” Display proponents, including the Bush administration, say the commandments are a foundation of secular U.S. law and placing them on public property doesn’t violate the Constitution’s ban on government establishment of religion. Critics say they are a government endorsement of religion. The court in Washington also heard arguments over whether two Kentucky courthouses can display framed copies of the commandments among other documents considered foundations of U.S. law. Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Antonin Scalia spoke in favor of keeping the Texas monument on the Capitol grounds. “If an atheist walks by, he can avert his eyes,” Kennedy said. Saying the government can’t accommodate religion is “hypocritical and it’s asking religious people to surrender their beliefs,” he said. The commandments are “a profound religious message believed in by a vast majority of the American people,” Scalia said. “There’s nothing wrong with the government reflecting that.” Justice John Paul Stevens questioned how far governments could go, asking Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott whether the state could display a crucifix of the same size outside the Capitol. Abbott said he doubted it, because a crucifix wasn’t a recognized symbol of law. Noting that the monument contained religious symbols such as the words Chi and Rho and a star of David, Justice David H. Souter said it was hard to find there was “anything here but an expression of approval by the state of Texas for a religious expression.” “The Ten Commandments is enormously divisive right now,” Chemerinsky told the justices. There are as many as two dozen similar legal battles across the U.S. over displays on government property of the commandments, which Jews and Christians believe God handed down to Moses on Mount Sinai. Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from office in 2003 for defying a court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building rotunda. In 1980, the Supreme Court said displaying the commandments in public school classrooms violates the Constitution’s First Amendment ban on government “establishment of religion.” […]

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