Education

Federal File

September 03, 2003 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Monumental Decision

“Roy’s Rock” was moved last week, but the weight of the dispute over the Ten Commandments monument in the Alabama Judicial Building is likely to shift to Washington in the next few months.

The rock was installed by Chief Justice Roy S. Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court two years ago, and it has generated controversy ever since. It was finally moved out of public view on Aug. 27 after both a federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, held that the monument was an endorsement of religion that violated the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition of a government establishment of religion.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 20 declined Chief Justice Moore’s request for an emergency stay of the lower-court rulings, the high court will get another chance to get involved this fall when it reviews the formal Alabama appeal.

Educators may take an interest in the case because the question of displaying the commandments has come up in some districts.

One Supreme Court decision has gotten little mention during the debate. An Associated Press story about Roy’s Rock even suggested that the high court had never ruled on displaying the Ten Commandments in public buildings.

But in 1980, in Stone v. Graham, the court voted 5- 4 to strike down a Kentucky law that required the posting of the Ten Commandments in each public school classroom. The commandments are “undeniably a sacred text in the Jewish and Christian faiths,” the majority said in its unsigned opinion.

In a dissent only for himself, then-Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist said he would uphold the Kentucky law because “the Ten Commandments have had a significant impact on the development of secular legal codes of the Western world.”

Mr. Rehnquist, of course, is now chief justice of the United States.

—Mark Walsh

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: January 12, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education School Bus Driver Retires After 48 Years Behind Wheel
Charles City school bus driver Betty Flick sat behind the wheel for the final time last week, wrapping up a 48-year career for the district.
3 min read
Charles City school bus driver Betty Flick poses with one of her farewell signs. Flick has been driving for Charles City School District for 48 years.
Betty Flick quickly fell in love with the job and with the kids, which is what has had her stay in the district for this long.
Courtesy of Abby Koch/Globe Gazette
Education Briefly Stated: December 1, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read