Oklahoma 10 Commandments Case Dismissed

In totally unsurprising news, a federal court in Oklahoma has dismissed a challenge filed by American Atheists against a Ten Commandments monument on state capitol grounds. The dismissal was based on the plaintiffs’ lack of standing, which just irritates the hell out of me.

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a privately funded Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma Capitol.

The lawsuit filed by a New Jersey-based nonprofit group, American Atheists Inc., and two of its members in January 2014 alleged the monument violated the First Amendment’s prohibition of government sanctioning of a specific religion, as well as other constitutional rights. U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthron ruled that the group lacked legal standing to file the lawsuit.

The judge said that the plaintiff lacked legal standing because they’d only seen the monument twice. So what would have given them standing? Five times? Ten times? 50 times? As I’ve been arguing for a decade now, the entire standing doctrine jurisprudence is artificial and nonsensical. The Constitution says nothing at all to suggest such restrictions. The Constitution only says that the judicial power “shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution.” If someone challenges the constitutionality of a government action, that is clearly within the jurisdiction of the federal courts.

The court’s standing doctrine has reached such incredible heights of absurdity that they will allow you to challenge government funding of a church or religious group if the money is specifically allocated by Congress, but not if Congress gives the money to the executive branch first and the executive branch gives the money to a church or religious group. That’s how ridiculous the court has gotten on this.

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  • colnago80

    Judges are now using the standing argument as a means of avoiding ruling on the issues.

  • raven

    That was a stupid decision.

    1. As Ed notes, they should just go look at it more often and ask the court how many times they need to look at it before they have standing. Take pictures of the monument while including a daily newspaper front page to prove they looked at it ten times.

    2. The other issue is still live. Public forum. Satanic Temple statue of Baphomet. They don’t have to look at it if they don’t want to!!!

    And don’t forget the Pagans. Thor and the Aesir battling the Frost Giants. They are winning this year again but it was a hard fought battle.

  • John Pieret

    Without going into the merits of the doctrine of standing, this is why groups like the Satanic Temple can be so helpful. As soon as a government justifies its actions based on creating a limited public forum, that claim can be tested and a denial of access to the forum automatically gives them standing.

  • D. C. Sessions

    So truck in a display and get booted out. Now you have standing.

  • http://kamakanui.zenfolio.com Kamaka


    which just irritates the hell out of me

    It’s also irritating that the religionists keep pushing their preposterous 10 commands as if it is something worth reading.

    @ John Pieret

    groups like the Satanic Temple

    Using their own ridiculous scary devil against them…and the fools don’t realize they are being played.

  • http://kamakanui.zenfolio.com Kamaka

    How exactly do they choose, I wonder?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi



  • StevoR

    Good. predictable but good decision. Even if not done quite the right way.

  • robnyny

    The standing requirement is not nonsensical per se. My grandfather (my father’s father) tried to have my parents’ marriage annulled on grounds that my mother was insane. (My parents were both in their 30’s, neither with a history of mental illness.) The suit was dismissed on grounds of lack of standing, which seems right to me. But when the standing argument is used to prevent any remedy, or to arbitrarily prevent remedies, then there is a problem.

  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden


    And who on the entire internet has said that the standing requirement is nonsensical per se?

    That’s okay, I’ll wait.

  • StevoR

    D’oh! I’m gonna apologise and take back my comment #8 here. I skim (mis)read and totally misunderstood the OP here. Thought it was the Ten Commandments that had been ruled illegal and not allowed rather than the American Atheists challenge to them. Oops. Memo to self – read more carefully in future.

    This decision isn’t good.

  • robnyny

    Crip Dyke:

    Quoting Ed’s original post in this thread:

    “As I’ve been arguing for a decade now, the entire standing doctrine jurisprudence is artificial and nonsensical.”

    Clear enough?