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Case Name ACLU of Kentucky v. McCreary County, Kentucky FA-KY-0003
Docket / Court 6:99-cv-00507-JBC ( E.D. Ky. )
State/Territory Kentucky
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On November 18, 1999 the ACLU and several individuals filed a lawsuit against McCreary, Harlan and Polaski Counties in Kentucky in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The Plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU and private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive ... read more >
On November 18, 1999 the ACLU and several individuals filed a lawsuit against McCreary, Harlan and Polaski Counties in Kentucky in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The Plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU and private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that the Defendants' display of the Ten Commandments in public schools and county courthouses violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

On June 22, 2001, the Court (Judge Jennifer B. Coffman) entered a preliminary injunction, ordering the Defendants to remove the displays of the Ten Commandments. ACLU v. McCreary County, 145 F.Supp.2d 845 (E.D.Ky. 2001). On December 18, 2003, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge Eric L. Clay) affirmed the District Courts preliminary injunction, noting that the Plaintiffs showed a likelihood of success on the merits. ACLU v. McCreary County, 354 F.3d 438, 462 (6th Cir. 2003). The Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari and on June 27, 2005 affirmed the lower courts, holding that the Plaintiffs presented ample evidence to show the Defendant's unconstitutional religious message in displaying the Ten Commandments.

The Defendants complied with the injunction by removing the original displays of the Ten Commandments, and the county courthouses replaced them with displays which included the Ten Commandments, the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner, the Mayflower Compact, the National Motto, the Preamble to the Kentucky Constitution, and a picture of Lady Justice. The Harlan County schools did not erect such a display, and were dismissed from the lawsuit.

On September 28, 2007 the District Court ruled that because the Defendants did not demonstrate a "predominantly secular purpose" with their new display, they were still in violation of the First Amendment Establishment Clause. The Judge then referred the case to settlement, whereupon the Defendants made slight policy changes. Unsatisfied with the changes, the District Court declared the new displays unconstitutional and permanently enjoined them on August 4, 2008. On March 13, 2009, the District Court awarded the Plaintiffs over $400,000 in attorney's fees and costs.

On June 9, 2010 the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's permanent injunction, 607 F.3d 439 and the parties signed a joint notice of satisfaction of judgment on December 21, 2011.

Joshua Arocho - 06/15/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Establishment Clause
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) McCreary County, Kentucky
Plaintiff Description ACLU
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
6:99-cv-00507-JBC (E.D. Ky.) 12/21/2011
FA-KY-0003-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order 06/22/2001 (145 F.Supp.2d 845) (E.D. Ky.)
FA-KY-0003-0006 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 12/18/2003 (354 F.3d 438)
FA-KY-0003-0007 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order 03/23/2004 (361 F.3d 928)
FA-KY-0003-0008 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order granting petition for writ of certiorari 10/12/2004 (543 U.S. 924)
FA-KY-0003-0009 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Opinion 06/27/2005 (545 U.S. 844)
FA-KY-0003-0010 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order denying cert. 06/28/2005 (545 U.S. 1152)
FA-KY-0003-0011 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum Opinion and Order 09/28/2007 (E.D. Ky.)
FA-KY-0003-0001 PDF | Detail
Memorandum Opinion and Order 08/04/2008 (E.D. Ky.)
FA-KY-0003-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment 08/04/2008 (E.D. Ky.)
FA-KY-0003-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order 03/13/2009 (2009 WL 720904) (E.D. Ky.)
FA-KY-0003-0004 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion 06/09/2010 (607 F.3d 439)
FA-KY-0003-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Breyer, Stephen Gerald (SCOTUS, First Circuit)
FA-KY-0003-0010
Clay, Eric L. (Sixth Circuit)
FA-KY-0003-0005 | FA-KY-0003-0007 | FA-KY-0003-0008
Coffman, Jennifer B. (E.D. Ky., W.D. Ky., FISC)
FA-KY-0003-0001 | FA-KY-0003-0002 | FA-KY-0003-0003 | FA-KY-0003-0004 | FA-KY-0003-0006 | FA-KY-0003-9000
Gibbons, Julia Smith (W.D. Tenn., Sixth Circuit)
FA-KY-0003-0007 | FA-KY-0003-0008
Ginsburg, Ruth Bader (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
FA-KY-0003-0010
Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (SCOTUS, Ninth Circuit)
FA-KY-0003-0010
O'Connor, Sandra Day (SCOTUS)
FA-KY-0003-0010
Rehnquist, William Hubbs (SCOTUS)
FA-KY-0003-0010
Ryan, James Leo (Sixth Circuit)
FA-KY-0003-0007 | FA-KY-0003-0008
Scalia, Antonin (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
FA-KY-0003-0010
Souter, David Hackett (SCOTUS, First Circuit)
FA-KY-0003-0010
Stevens, John Paul (SCOTUS, Seventh Circuit)
FA-KY-0003-0010
Thomas, Clarence (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
FA-KY-0003-0010
Todd, James B. (E.D. Ky.) [Magistrate]
FA-KY-0003-9000
Wier, Robert E. (E.D. Ky.) [Magistrate]
FA-KY-0003-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Falk, Kenneth J. (Indiana)
FA-KY-0003-0010
Flynn, Kathleen M (Illinois)
FA-KY-0003-0006 | FA-KY-0003-9000
Friedman, David A. (Kentucky)
FA-KY-0003-0006 | FA-KY-0003-0007 | FA-KY-0003-0008 | FA-KY-0003-0010 | FA-KY-0003-9000
Griffith, Caroline Laurie (Kentucky)
FA-KY-0003-0006 | FA-KY-0003-9000
Hoffman, Everett Clay (Kentucky)
FA-KY-0003-0006 | FA-KY-0003-9000
Lutgens, Lili R (Kentucky)
FA-KY-0003-0010
Shapiro, Steven R. (New York)
FA-KY-0003-0010
Sharp, William E. (Kentucky)
FA-KY-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Amshoff, Theodore H. (Kentucky)
FA-KY-0003-0006 | FA-KY-0003-9000
Corry, David M (Virginia)
FA-KY-0003-9000
Crampton, Stephen M (Virginia)
FA-KY-0003-9000
Green, Bruce W (Florida)
FA-KY-0003-0010
Lindevaldsen, Rena M (Florida)
FA-KY-0003-0010
Martin, Lindsey F (Florida)
FA-KY-0003-0010
McAlister, Mary E (Florida)
FA-KY-0003-0010
Ray, Ronald D. (Kentucky)
FA-KY-0003-0006 | FA-KY-0003-9000
Stanley, Erik William (Virginia)
FA-KY-0003-0006 | FA-KY-0003-0007 | FA-KY-0003-0008 | FA-KY-0003-0010 | FA-KY-0003-9000
Staver, Anita L (Florida)
FA-KY-0003-0010
Staver, Mathew D. (Florida)
FA-KY-0003-0006 | FA-KY-0003-0007 | FA-KY-0003-0008 | FA-KY-0003-0010 | FA-KY-0003-9000
Turner, Johnnie L (Kentucky)
FA-KY-0003-0007 | FA-KY-0003-0008 | FA-KY-0003-0010 | FA-KY-0003-9000
Other Lawyers Clement, Paul D. (District of Columbia)
FA-KY-0003-0010
Huggins, David R. (Virginia)
FA-KY-0003-0007

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