Earlier this month, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Bloomfield, New Mexico’s installation of a Ten Commandments monument on the lawn in front of city hall violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
In 2007, upon request of one of its members, the Bloomfield city council approved the placement of the privately-donated monument. At the time, the city lacked a policy regarding placement of permanent monuments, but it enacted one three months later. The city’s policy required a statement to be placed on privately-donated stating that the speech was not that of the city but rather of the donor, and also required that such monuments relate to the city’s history and heritage. After several years of fundraising and another city council approval, the 3,400 pound Ten Commandments monument was placed on the city hall lawn in 2011, and the city held a ceremony—replete with statements by elected officials and religious leaders—to dedicate the monument. Over the course of the next two years, the city amended the monument policy, and allowed the installation of other monuments on the lawn, including monuments containing the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and the Bill of Rights, but did not advertise its policy of allowing donated monuments.
The federal district court held
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