OKLAHOMA CITY, July 27 (UPI) — The Oklahoma Supreme Court again ordered the removal of a statue of the Ten Commandments from the state capitol grounds after denying an appeal Monday.
The nine justices turned down an appeal from the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission to rehear the case less than one month after the court originally ordered for the monument to be taken down.
The court said the Oklahoma Constitution — in Article 2, Section 5 — bans the use of public property “for the benefit of any religious purpose.” Even though the Ten Commandments monument was paid for with private funding, the court said it is on public property and benefits or supports a system of religion and is therefore unconstitutional.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office, on behalf of the commission, filed the petition for a rehearing, arguing the monument should remain, citing a 2005 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court said the presence of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol did not violate the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause.
But the Oklahoma Supreme Court said the U.S. Constitution wasn’t the issue, it was the fact that the statue violated Article 2, Section 5 of the state’s constitution.
The justices voted 7-2 not to rehear the case.