OKLAHOMA CITY – District Judge Thomas Prince ruled the state needs to re-work their brief before he will make a decision on whether the Ten Commandments monument erected at the State Capitol can stay.
The monument went up in 2009. Approved by the legislature and paid for by a lawmaker, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit last year demanding it come down.
“No matter what a particular person thinks about the Ten Commandments monument, I think we can all agree that the justice system needs to give it a careful look.” said ACLU Legal Director Brady Henderson.
In May the Capitol Preservation Commission asked a judge to throw out the ACLU lawsuit.
Friday, Judge Prince ruled the state’s motion needs to be re-worked. The Judge directed attorneys for The Commission to, “organize the facts of the case.”
“I think it’s an incredibly smart decision by the judge here recognizing that there are some distinct things that this court is going to need to settle in order to make a decision on the district level.” said Ryan Kiesel with the ACLU. “This is an incredibly important case and the judge and this court are taking it very seriously as is apparent by this order today.”
Henderson called the decision a victory for the ACLU and the people of Oklahoma, “because what it means is we’re going to really focus in on the issues of the case.”
The judge asked the Oklahoma Preservation Commission to re-file compliant paperwork by July 24th.
Director of Public Affairs, Aaron Cooper released a statement Friday afternoon saying:
“Judge Prince’s order reflects his thoughtful consideration of these important constitutional issues. The Attorney General’s Office looks forward to providing the additional analysis requested by the court. It’s important to note that courts throughout the nation have upheld as constitutional Ten Commandments monuments using the same text and design as the one at the Oklahoma Capitol.”
The ACLU will respond by August 15th.
Judge Prince is expected to make a decision on the monument at the next hearing scheduled for September 12th.