In 2006, Dixie County, Florida passed an ordinance that allowed citizens to erect a display on the county courthouse’s steps. So, a Christian man paid to have a 12,000-lb stone display of the Ten Commandments set up. Not surprisingly, some atheist or otherwise anti-Christian member of the ACLU who allegedly lived all the way in North Carolina whined and complained about the display and filed a federal lawsuit against the county for breaking that “wall of separation” between Church and State. And of course, the ACLU helped this anonymous person out by representing him (or her).
However, under Article III of the Constitution, in order to file a lawsuit challenging the Constitutionality of a law, the plaintiff has to show that he has standing; that is, he has to show that whatever law he is contesting harms him in some way. So, this North Carolinian concocted a story about how he was planning to buy some property in the Dixie County area, and it pained him to see the Ten Commandments on display when he went to the courthouse.
That was his standing. And thanks to a liberal Supreme Court decision back in 1968, a precedent was established allowing a plaintiff’s standing to be justified by some religious concern. So, in this case, the plaintiff’s standing was on religious grounds. (Get it?)
This was all back in 2006 and the years in between then and now. Last week, the unnamed plaintiff finally admitted that he wasn’t really trying to buy some property, and that it was all just a story to get the courthouse to remove the Ten Commandments display. The federal Judge then dismissed the case since the plaintiff showed that he had no standing.
The organization that represented the county in the lawsuit was Liberty Counsel. Harry Mihet of Liberty Counsel had this to say:
“The ACLU got caught with its hands in the constitutional cookie jar. Its prolonged campaign against the good citizens of Dixie County has come to a screeching halt. In getting kicked out of court, the ACLU has learned that it cannot impose its San Francisco values upon a small town in Florida, using a phantom member from North Carolina.”
Thanks to this frivolous lawsuit, the ACLU had to pay $1,300 in court costs to Liberty Counsel in addition to the $2,300 it had to pay after the appeal. And the Ten Commandments display remains where it is.