This Note will examine the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in Plattsmouth II in light of other cases which involved Eagles Ten Commandments monuments. This Note presents three assertions: first, the Eighth Circuit properly applied the Supreme Court's opinion in Van Orden and allowed Plattsmouth to keep its monument; second, Plattsmouth's monument should remain even under the Court's current analysis, first asserted in Lemon v. Kurtzman; and finally, the Supreme Court should interpret the Establishment Clause to allow all of the Eagles' monuments to remain on public property. In order to better understand the rocky terrain upon which the court climbed to evaluate the city's monument, section II.A provides a brief summary of the Supreme Court's Establishment Clause jurisprudence by focusing on its treatment of Ten Commandments monuments in Van Orden and McCreary County. Section II.B describes five appellate court opinions involving Ten Commandments monuments donated by the Eagles. Part III details the revelation detailed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in Plattsmouth I. Section IV.A concludes that the Eighth Circuit made the correct decision and enumerates a four point test for future Eagles monuments. Section IV.B argues that Plattsmouth's monument also passes the Supreme Court's Lemon test and heighten "purpose" requirement under McCreary County. Section IV.C argues that the Supreme Court should categorically exempt Eagles monuments from typical Establishment Clause analysis. Finally, Part V will summarize the questions resolved and the questions that remain for the Eagles' Ten Commandments monuments in the Eighth Circuit and the United States.
Keith T. Peters,
Small Town Establishment of Religion in ACLU of Nebraska Foundation v. City of Plattsmouth, 419 F.3d 772 (8th Cir. 2005); Eagles Soaring in the Eighth Circuit,
84 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol84/iss3/8