ACLU backs down in Louisiana Nativity Scene Case

Freedom of speech and expression that is guaranteed by the First Amendment is a year round fight.

ACLU relinquishes its attack on school district represented by ADF
Released: Friday, August 12, 2005

"The ACLU’s case was going nowhere fast," said Mike Johnson, an ADF attorney based in Shreveport.  "Stockwell Place Elementary School’s display of a creche was unquestionably lawful and legitimate, and its allowance of equal access for Christian student organizations is in perfect compliance with the First Amendment."


One of the district’s schools displayed a nativity scene during the Christmas season of 2003 and has allowed other forms of religious expression on campus.  This prompted the ACLU to file suit against the district and school officials.

"The ACLU’s case was going nowhere fast," said Mike Johnson, an ADF attorney based in Shreveport.  "Stockwell Place Elementary School’s display of a creche was unquestionably lawful and legitimate, and its allowance of equal access for Christian student organizations is in perfect compliance with the First Amendment."

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that displays of religious symbols on public property-such as nativity scenes-are constitutional if placed for legitimate secular purposes such as celebrating a holiday or depicting its origins.

The ACLU, representing the parents of two former students at the school, had also objected to the school’s inclusion of religious songs in its Christmas program and to its allowance of a Christian club to voluntarily meet during recess.

On April 4, U.S. District Court Judge Maurice Hicks, Jr., granted in part the school district’s motion to dismiss the case because the original plaintiffs moved out of state.  As part of the settlement, the ACLU agreed to waive any claims for damages or attorneys’ fees against the school district, and the school board reaffirmed its longstanding commitment to follow the law and its applicable policies.

ADF is America’s largest legal alliance defending religious liberty through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.

http://www.telladf.org/

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