Hearing on Ten Commandments monument at Oklahoma Capitol is set for September

An Oklahoma County judge told lawyers for the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission to revise paperwork in support of a Ten Commandments monument, because it does not conform to law.
by Matt Dinger Modified: June 27, 2014 at 6:57 pm •  Published: June 28, 2014
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photo - A woman takes a picture of this six-foot tall granite monument of the Ten Commandments after it was erected on the north side of the state Capitol grounds Thursday morning, Nov. 15, 2012.  Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
A woman takes a picture of this six-foot tall granite monument of the Ten Commandments after it was erected on the north side of the state Capitol grounds Thursday morning, Nov. 15, 2012. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

An Oklahoma County judge says the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission’s paperwork in support of a Ten Commandments monument on state property does not conform to law.

“You need to clean up your motion,” District Judge Thomas Prince told the commission’s lawyers in a hearing Friday morning.

Prince also ordered lawyers for the commission and the American Civil Liberties Union to prepare briefs regarding five legal issues in the case, which is set for a Sept. 12 hearing.

In question are portions of the state constitution that touch on religion and religious expression and the context of the monument, which was erected at the state Capitol in late 2012. The monument was installed under legislation passed in 2009 and signed by Gov. Brad Henry.

Prince told both parties that he is asking certain questions now in anticipation of an appeal regardless of his ruling.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit in August on behalf of four plaintiffs, including a Baptist minister, who challenged the monument’s placement.

“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,” spokesman Aaron Cooper said.

“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,” he said.


by Matt Dinger
Court Reporter
Matt Dinger was born and raised in Oklahoma City. He has worked in OPUBCO's News and Information Center since 2006, and has been assigned to the breaking news desk since its formation in fall 2008. He specializes in crime and police reporting.
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