Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Signs Executive Order Directing Display of the ‘Foundations of American Law and Government’ Display

Press Release Date:  Monday, November 05, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Judge Hood rules that display is not covered by previous injunction

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher has directed that the “Foundations of American Law and Government” display be placed in the Capitol, following a ruling today by U.S. District Judge Joseph M. Hood that the display is not covered by a previous injunction.

“The ‘Foundations’ display contains a variety of historically significant documents which are meant to educate our citizens about the foundations of our law and government,” said Governor Fletcher. “I’m pleased that Judge Hood has ruled that the previous injunction does not apply to this display.”

On Oct. 29, Governor Fletcher asked the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky to clarify a 2006 order pertaining to the display of a Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol Grounds. The motion asked the court to stipulate that a previous order enjoining the display of the monument does not apply to the “Foundations” display, noting that the “Foundations” display has a predominately secular purpose.

The request was made after the “Foundations” display was donated to the Governor’s Office by a private citizen. In addition to a King James version of the Ten Commandments, the display includes a copy of the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Carta, the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner, the national motto, “In God We Trust,” the preamble to the Kentucky Constitution, the Bill of Rights and a picture of Lady Justice.

The documents in the “Foundations” display are all of the same size and each is accompanied by a statement describing its historical and legal significance. The display is identical to the displays posted in the Mercer and Rowan County Courthouses and upheld as constitutional in ACLU v. Mercer County, Ky., 432 F.3d 624 (6th Cir. 2005) and ACLU v. Rowan County, Ky., --- F.Supp.2d ---, 2007 WL 2780386 (E.D. Ky. 2007).

In March 2006, Governor Fletcher signed HB 277 into law. That legislation directs the Historic Properties Advisory Commission to retrieve the Ten Commandments Monument donated by the Fraternal Order of Eagles and relocate it to the Capitol grounds.

However, in June 2006, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky entered an order preventing the display of the monument until the court reviews the state’s plan for the display and determines that it complies with applicable legal precedents.