WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 – One federal court upheld them as a symbol of the
country’s devotion to its legal heritage. Another federal court ordered
them removed as an illicit message of religious endorsement. Fifteen months
ago, Alabama’s chief justice lost his job over them, and the two-ton
granite monument that once sat in the rotunda of the state courthouse is
now the star of a national tour. The profile of the Ten Commandments, it
seems, has rarely been higher, or their ability to attract lawsuits greater.

Now, as with all great controversies in American life, this one has finally
reached the Supreme Court. In two cases to be argued on Wednesday, the
basic question for the justices will be: what does it mean for the
government to display a copy of the Ten Commandments


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