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McCreary County v. ACLU

Docket No.: 03-1693
Certiorari Granted: Oct 12 2004
Argued: March 2, 2005
Decided: June 27, 2005


First Amendment, Article I, Bill of Rights, Defamation, Establishment Clause, Fourteenth Amendment, murder, patent, preliminary injunction, public schools

PartyNames: McCreary County, Kentucky, et al. v. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, et al.
Petitioner: McCreary County, Kentucky, et al.
Respondent: American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, et al.

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Citation: 354 F3d 438
Supreme Court Docket

McCreary County, Kentucky, et al.
American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, et al.
545 U.S. 844 (2005)
Question Presented:

1. Whether the Establishment Clause is violated by a privately donated display on government property that includes eleven equal size frames containing an explanation of the display along with nine historical documents and symbols that played a role in the development of American law and government where only one of the framed documents is the Ten Commandments and the remaining documents and symbols are secular. 2. Whether a prior display by the government in a courthouse containing the Ten Commandments that was enjoined by a court permanently taints and thereby precludes any future display by the same government when the subsequent display articulates a secular purpose and where the Ten Commandments is a minority among numerous other secular historical documents and symbols.3. Whether the Lemon test should be overruled since the test is unworkable and has fostered excessive confusion in Establishment Clause jurisprudence.4. Whether a new test for Establishment Clause purposes should be set forth by this Court when the government displays or recognizes historical expressions of religion.


Do Ten Commandments displays in public schools and in courthouses violate the First Amendment's establishment clause, which prohibits government from passing laws "respecting an establishment of religion?" 2. Was a determination that the displays' purpose had been to advance religion sufficient for the displays' invalidation?

McCreary County v. ACLU

March 2, 2005

Holding: affirmed
Vote: 5-4
Opinion By:

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McCreary County v. ACLU
Case Documents

1Opinion in McCreary County v. ACLU
2Slip Opinion in McCreary County v. ACLU
Additional documents for this case are pending review.