Oklahoma is heading for a clash over the Ten Commandments.
An unintended side effect of Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin‘s decision to defy her state’s Supreme Court ruling against a Ten Commandments monument is that it serves as a reminder that courts rely on other agencies to enforce their decisions.
The court ruled last week in favor the of ACLU that the monument, which sits on state capitol grounds, is unconstitutional and must be removed.
But the governor is in no hurry to act on the decision.
“Oklahoma is a state where we respect the rule of law, and we will not ignore the state courts or their decisions,” Fallin said, according to KOCO-TV. “However, we are also a state with three co-equal branches of government.”
She noted that the state has filed a petition requesting a rehearing of the case and that the Oklahoma Legislature plans to take steps to change the state Constitution that will “make it clear the Ten Commandments monument is legally permissible.”
Voters will have the opportunity to vote an any measure, KOCO-TV reported.
“The Ten Commandments monument was built to recognize and honor the historical significance of the Commandments in our state’s and nation’s systems of laws,” Fallin said in a statement.
“The monument was built and maintained with private dollars,” she added. “It is virtually identical to a monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol which the United States Supreme Court ruled to be permissible.”
ACLU of Oklahoma executive director Ryan Kiesel complained that “the court said, ‘remove the monument,’” according to Tulsa World.
“Frankly, I would be astonished if we get to a point where the governor outright defies an order of our state’s highest court,” Kiesle said. “That said, if she does, there is a word for it. It is called contempt.”
It also harkens back to President Andrew Jackson’s action when he disagreed with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in “Worcester v. Georgia.”
“John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!” Jackson reportedly said of the high court’s influential chief justice.
While the remark may be apocryphal, with judicial activism rampant in America, some may find it encouraging to see an executive today with the courage to take a similar stance.
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