How the Supreme Court Blessed
the Ten Commandments
Robert V. Ritter *
October 21, 2011
Americas storied freedom of religion is marred by pervasive Christian tyranny. Our first liberty – freedom from government sponsored religion – prohibits governmental acts respecting an establishment of religion. Yet despite this command, Christian Supremacists have frequently gotten members of the three branches of government to betray their oaths of office to uphold and defend the Constitution. Examples include inserting under God in the Pledge of Allegiance, adopting In God We Trust as a national motto, ordering the religious slogan to be put on our coins and currency, military bands playing God Bless America, the Supreme Court opening its sessions in prayer with God save the United States and this honorable Court and the administrator of the presidential oath appending so help me God to the oath prescribed by the Constitution.
And then along came BLACK MONDAY. On June 26, 2005, five members of the the Supreme Court of the United States lost their legal compass when they blessed a Ten Commandments tombstone in Austin, Texas.
This ebook is the incredible story about how Judge E.J. Ruegemer, the Fraternal Order of Eagles (F.O.E. website), city and state governments and the Supreme Court of the United States failed to respect the First Amendment. As a consequence, more than one hundred fifty granite monuments with religious commandments inscribed on them were placed in our city parks, state capitol grounds and courthouse steps in violation of the First Amendment's prohibition respecting an establishment of religion.
It is my hope that the information presented in this ebook and a future legal challenge to a Fraternal Order of Eagles donated tombstone, will lead to the restoration of the Courts respect for the principle of separation of church and state embodied in the First Amendment.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART I – The Scam: It wasnt meant to be religions.
Chapter 1 - The Beginning
Chapter 2 - The Ruegemer Fable
Chapter 3 - The Eagles Charade
Chapter 4 - The Tombstones
Chapter 5 - Judge Ruegemers Affidavits: Artful Lawyering or Perjury?
PART II – The Legal Compass
Chapter 6 - The Establishment Clause and Separation of Church & State
PART III – The Blessing
Chapter 7 - Pre-Van Orden Litigation
Chapter 8 - Van Orden v. Perry: The Supreme Court Blesses The Ten Commandments
Chapter 9 - Post-Van Orden Litigation
Chapter 10 - The Indictment
Chapter 11 - The Saga Continues: A Disagreeable Bunch on the Bench
PART IV – Appendices
Appendix 1-A - Location, Photographs and Stories of Eagles Tombstones by City
Appendix 1-B - Location of Eagles Tombstones by State
Appendix 2 - List of Cases
Appendix 3 - List of Documents
Appendix 4 - Front of Eagles Ten Commandments Poster
Appendix 5 - Back of Eagles Ten Commandments Poster (including a statement by Judge E. J. Ruegemer)
Appendix 6 - Judge E. J. Ruegemers Affidavit in Freedom From Religion Foundation v. State of Colorado (see pages 10-12)
Appendix 7 - Judge E. J. Ruegemers Affidavit in Books v. City of Elkhart
Appendix 8 - Judge E. J. Ruegemers Declaration in Card v. City of Everett, Washington
Appendix 9 - Friend of the Court Brief of the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Van Orden v. Perry (2005)
Appendix 10 - F.O.E. Comic Book "On Eagles Wings"
Appendix 11 - Pleasant Grove City v. Summum Friend of the Court Brief of the American Humanist Association, et al.
Appendix 12 - Transcript of Oral Arguments in Pleasant Grove City v. Summum
* Robert V. Ritter is an attorney practicing church-state law in Washington, D.C. area. He is a member of the bars of the District of Columbia, Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court, the 4th, 7th and 10th Circuits of the U.S. Courts of Appeals and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was counsel of record of Supreme Court amicus briefs in Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, Salazar v. Buono, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez and Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn; and court of appeals amicus briefs in Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Obama (7th Cir.) and American Atheists v. Duncan (10th Cir.). He served co-counsel in Newdow v. Roberts (Sup.Ct., cert. den. May 16, 2011) which challenged the infusion of religion into the 2009, 2013 and 2017 presidential inaugural ceremonies.
- U.S. Constitution, 1st Amendment – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.
- Written by Francis Bellamy in 1892, the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag was formally adopted by Congress in 1942. In 1954, Congress added under God, largely in resonse to lobbying by the Kinghts of Columbus. [June 14, 1954, ch. 297, 68 Stat. 249; currently codified at 4 USC Sec. 4.] A lawsuit brought Michael Newdow challenged the addition of "under God." The Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit in Newdow v. United States Congress, Elk Grove Unified School District, et al., 542 U.S. 1 (2004), holding that Newdow lacked standing because he did not have custody of his daughter. Consequently, the constitutionality of the addition of religious verbiage remains unresolved.
- In God we trust was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956. The phrase is derived from the Bible; several psalms contain it or derivations of it (Psalms 20, bible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Psa&c=56&v=1&t=KJV#top Psalms 56, & Psalms 62, etc .) See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_God_We_Trust.
- The phrase In God We Trust has appeared on U.S. coins since 1864 and on paper currency since 1957. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_God_We_Trust.
- Military bands playing God Bless America – I witnessed this at the 2004 U.S. Open mens tennis final and was deeply offended by this endorsement of religion by our Armed Forces.
- Each session of the Supreme Court of the United States begins with the following prayer: Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! All persons having business before the Honorable, the Supreme Court of the United States, are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting. God save the United States and this Honorable Court! The opening prayer would appear to be an unconsitutional preference of religion.
- U.S. Const., Art. II, cl. 6 prescribes the following oath of office for the president: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me god is not part of the official oath. Newdow v. Roberts challenged the oath administers from appending the religious phrase to the official oath. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the case for lack of standing. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed. The U.S. Supreme Court denined certiorari. Consequently, the constitutionality for the preference of religion remains unresolved. I served as co-counsel with Michael Newdow in representing the plaintiffs. Each of the courts disgracefully turned a blind eye to the harm commited against our clients by the U.S. government. The District Court and Court of Appeals abused their discretion in using lack of standing to hear the case on the merits. The Supreme Court dodged a bullet by declining to hear the case -- perhaps just too hot to handle.
- In Van Orden v. Perry, 545 U.S. 677 (2005), the Supreme Court held in a 5-4 decision that the display of a Ten Commandments monolith on the Texas state capitol grounds did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. There was no majority decision and, therefore, no single rational for explaining how the display of an inherently religious symbol by the state of Texas comports with the First Amendments prohibition against an establishment of religion. Chapter 8 explore some of the rationales given by the majority and suggests that those rationales are either a sham, grossly misleading or more like a foundation built on quicksand than rock. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer. Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day OConnor, David Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.
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