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.