SCOTUS declines KY Homeland case

Well, this is disappointing.  The Supreme Court has declined to hear American Atheists vs. Kentucky Office of Homeland Security.

As a reminder, the Kentucky legislature passed a law back in 2002 that required the Executive Director of the Office of Homeland Security to “Publicize the findings of the General Assembly stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth” and to display “a permanent plaque at the entrance to the state’s Emergency Operations Center stating the text of [the provision].”

One would think this is about as clear-cut a case of unconstitutional intermingling of church and state as could be conceived. One would be wrong. Although a state circuit court rule for the plaintiffs, the Kentucky Court of Appeals reversed the decision, ruling that the legislature did not intend to compel religious belief, or favor one belief over others, but merely recognized a “historical reliance on God for protection.”

The Kentucky Supreme Court refused to hear the case, so AA appealed directly to the Supreme Court of the United States.  SCOTUS has now, without comment, declined to hear the case, which means the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling stands.

It’s not clear what options the plaintiffs have at this point, but whatever they are, they’re pretty limited. It’s probably too much to hope that the legislature will reverse this law on its own, or that the voters will encourage them to reverse it. It looks as if, for the foreseeable future, Kentuckians will be forced to rely on the protection of Almighty God.

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