Justices Turn Aside Ten Commandments Case By Susan Jones CNSNews.com Morning Editor May 29, 2001 (CNSNews.com) - A conservative legal group says the U.S. Supreme Court, in turning aside an Indiana Ten Commandments case, has "missed an important opportunity to clarify an issue that has become the center of a national debate." On Tuesday, the Justices let stand a lower-court ruling involving the public display of the Ten Commandments in Elkhart, Indiana. A granite marker bearing the Commandments has stood on government property in front of city building since 1958, but it took forty years -- until 1998 - for two offended residents to sue the city on the grounds that it was promoting religion. A lower court ruled that the marker violated the Constitution's establishment of religion clause, and because the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, that lower-court ruling stands. It's now up to a federal judge to say what the city must do about the monument. Justices Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas said they would like to have heard the case, and they indicated they found nothing wrong with the display. The Virginia-based American Center for Law and Justice, which represented the city of Elkhart, said it is disappointed that the Supreme Court did not consider "the most important First Amendment issue." Francis J. Manion, the ACLJ's senior counsel, said, "The Court's decision not to weigh in on the Ten Commandments issue will only add to the confusion surrounding the displays of Ten Commandments in communities across America." The Elkhart City Council, faced with the lawsuit in 1998, declared the granite marker a "historical and cultural monument that reflects one of the earliest codes of human conduct." The ACLJ said it will "continue to meet legal challenges posted by the American Civil Liberties Union and other special interest groups that are targeting Ten Commandments displays...which are at the foundation of the history and heritage of our country."