Ten Commandments Monument At OK Capitol To Be Removed

Tuesday, June 30th 2015, 5:33 pm
By: Karl Torp

Oklahoma's Supreme Court has ruled to remove the Ten Commandments Monument from the state capitol.

Lawmakers had fought for years for the monument, sighting its historical importance and not its religious one. The Oklahoma Supreme Court's opinion is very cut and dry and the 7-2 vote wasn't close.

The Ten Commandments monument was never viewed by its supporting lawmakers as a religious monument, but a historical one.

The “historic distinction”, attorneys argued, would mean the monument would not be subject to separation of church and state laws. The Oklahoma Supreme Court disagreed and their language leaves little doubt as to what the nine justices were thinking.

6/30/2015 Related Story: OK Supreme Court: Ten Commandments Monument Must Be Removed From Capitol

The opinion states, “as concerns the 'historic purpose' justification, the Ten Commandments are obviously religious in nature and are an integral part of the Jewish and Christian faiths.

Based on state law, the Oklahoma Supreme Court voted to remove the monument.

Rep. Mike Ritze, whose name appears at the bottom on the monument, donated the monument to be displayed at the State Capital.

“I'm Native American. There's a lot of Native American art, monuments, and engravings all over the Oklahoma State Capitol. Does that mean we have to take that down? I don't know,” said Ritze from his Tulsa home.

Ritze says attorneys for the monument will ask the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision.

“They are almost never successful, of course, because when you have Justices that just decided something a certain way and a motion to reconsider is essentially telling them they are wrong. They usually don't change their minds,” says ACLU Oklahoma attorney Brady Henderson.

During the high courts "reconsider process” the monument will likely stay.

No word on how long that will be.