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.