Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has vowed that a Ten Commandments monument on capitol grounds, which the state Supreme Court recently ruled was unconstitutional, will remain through appeal, KOCOreports.
“The Ten Commandments monument was built to recognize and honor the historical significance of the Commandments in our state’s and nation’s systems of laws,” Fallin says in a statement.
“The monument was built and maintained with private dollars. It is virtually identical to a monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol which the United States Supreme Court ruled to be permissible. It is a privately funded tribute to historical events, not a taxpayer funded endorsement of any religion, as some have alleged.”
Fallin and Attorney General Scott Pruitt are appealing the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“Oklahoma is a state where we respect the rule of law, and we will not ignore the state courts or their decisions. However, we are also a state with three co-equal branches of government. At this time, Attorney General Scott Pruitt, with my support, has filed a petition requesting a rehearing of the Ten Commandments case,” according to the governor.
“Additionally, our Legislature has signaled its support for pursuing changes to our state Constitution that will make it clear the Ten Commandments monument is legally permissible. If legislative efforts are successful, the people of Oklahoma will get to vote on the issue.”
In a 7-2 ruling, the Supreme Court sided with the ACLU and its three plaintiffs. The group immediately denounced Fallin’s decision.
“The Supreme Court did not give any leeway in their opinion. The bipartisan, seven-member majority did not say remove the monument except if you look into your crystal ball and think the law might allow it at some point in the future and go ahead and keep it,” ACLU of Oklahoma executive director Ryan Kiesel tells the Tulsa World. “The court said remove the monument.”
Kiesel believes Fallin is in “contempt” of the court’s ruling.
“Frankly, I would be astonished if we get to a point where the governor outright defies an order of our state’s highest court,” he says. “That said, if she does, there is a word for it. It is called contempt.”