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Louisiana became the first state to require the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public school classroom. But the battle has only begun.

As the Associated Press reported, H.B. 71, which was signed into law by GOP Governor Jeff Landry, mandates that a poster-sized display of the Ten Commandments in “large, easily readable font” be shown all public classrooms. This includes K-12 education and state-funded universities like LSU.

The displays will be paired with a four-paragraph “context statement” describing how the Ten Commandments “were a prominent part of American public education for almost three centuries” according to CBS News. They must be in place in classrooms by the start of 2025. The legislation further requires that the posters be paid for through donations, not state funds.

Legislators in other states, such as Texas, Utah, and Oklahoma, have proposed requiring legislation similar to Louisiana’s. But fear of lawsuits has prevented the measures from being implemented into state law.

The BBC notes that there have also been multiple legal battles over the years regarding the display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings, including schools, courthouses, and police stations.

H.B. 71 also authorizes the display of the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, and the Northwest Ordinance in K-12 public schools. However, unlike the Ten Commandments, these are not required.

As expected, far-left opponents such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have vowed to fight the law tooth and nail in court. The ACLU announced Wednesday they have partnered with the anti-religion groups Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Freedom from Religion Foundation to file a lawsuit challenging the new Louisiana legislation.

“We are preparing a lawsuit to challenge H.B. 71,” the groups wrote. “The law violates the separation of church and state and is blatantly unconstitutional.”

“The First Amendment promises that we all get to decide for ourselves what religious beliefs, if any, to hold and practice, without pressure from the government,” the statement continues. “Politicians have no business imposing their preferred religious doctrine on students and families in public schools.”

From a legal perspective, it’s unclear which group holds the upper hand. On one hand, history favors the ACLU and its allies when considering previous Supreme Court rulings.

The AP notes that back in 1980, a nearly identical law passed in Kentucky was declared unconstitutional. In a 5-4 vote, The Court said that the Kentucky law violated the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution, which states Congress can “make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

The justices noted in their ruling that in addition to criminal matters, the Ten Commandments also made references to worshipping God.

However, Louisiana may still have a shot if the Supreme Court eventually hears the new law. Republicans currently hold a 6-3 edge, with three justices being Trump appointees.

This Court has already upended its share of precedents, including the reversal of Roe vs. Wade. Blithely dismissing the possibility of a potential landmark decision on religion could prove foolish.



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