Ten Commandments Suit Dismissed
James McKay, lead prosecutor in the William Balfour murder trial, returns from hearing a question from the jury during deliberations at Cook County Criminal Court, Friday, May 11, 2012, in Chicago. Balfour, is charged in the 2008 murder of Oscar and Grammy winning performer Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) / M. Spencer Green
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson said removal of the monument did not unconstitutionally establish a religion of nontheistic beliefs, as the residents claimed.
"The empty space or 'nothingness' in the rotunda of the Judicial Building is neither an endorsement of `nontheistic belief' nor a sign of disrespect for Christianity or any other religion," Thompson said. He said the empty space demonstrates government neutrality toward religion.
Suspended Chief Justice Roy Moore had the monument moved into the judicial building two years ago, saying it represents the moral foundation of American law. Thompson ruled the monument an unconstitutional promotion of religion by government and ordered it removed. It was eventually put in a storage room last week.
Thompson's dismissal came a day after a spokeswoman for Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove said Moore had turned down Musgrove's offer to publicly display the monument for a week at the Mississippi Capitol.
"We hope the U.S. Supreme Court will override the federal court's decision," Musgrove's spokeswoman Lee Ann Mayo said.
An attorney for the Moore supporters, Jim Zeigler, said a decision has not been made on whether to appeal.
Moore was suspended pending a trial over his refusal to move the monument. The court's eight associate justices ordered it removed.
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