Last year, a mentally ill man temporarily delayed the installation of a Ten Commandments monument on the Arkansas Capitol grounds in Little Rock by driving his car into the structure. The American Civil Liberties Union and others want to permanently remove the display, using less violent means.
Almost four weeks after the April 26 dedication of the destroyed monument’s replacement, the ACLU filed suit on behalf of four women whose biking and walking routes take them near the structure. They call it a “government-sponsored religious shrine,” according to an ACLU statement.
A separate group of plaintiffs that includes atheists, a rabbi, a Methodist minister, and a wiccan made a similar argument in a lawsuit. Both legal challenges claim the monument and the 2005 law providing for its placement on public property are unconstitutional.
Fighting the ACLU in these cases can prove costly. The city of Bloomfield, N.M., lost its six-year fight with the ACLU over its Ten Commandments display when the U.S. Supreme Court refused in November to hear the case. That let stand a lower court ruling ordering the monument removed. The city is now trying to raise $700,000 in legal fees it owes the ACLU after losing the case. —B.P.