A curious demand was made of the Supreme Court last week in Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, where the Court is considering a seven Aphorisms monument in a city park where a 10 Commandments monument already stands. Robert Ritter, president of the Jefferson Madison Center for Religious Liberty, asked the Court to postpone the scheduled oral arguments “until such time as the Court publicly discloses … that a literal translation of the Hebrew on the tablet that Moses is holding on the Court’s South Wall Frieze is opposite of the Ten Commandments….” The Court appears to have ignored the demand.
The depiction of Moses holding two tablets in the Supreme Court shows him with his robe and beard hiding much of the lettering. The Court has referenced the display. For example, in the Court’s 2005 decision in Van Orden v. Perry, Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote: “Since 1935, Moses has stood, holding two tablets that reveal portions of the Ten Commandments written in Hebrew, among other lawgivers in the south frieze.”
The Court routinely sends specific questions to the parties for further briefing or to narrow oral argument. However, the Court does not respond well to questions or demands going the other way.
For a copy of the “urgent letter” from Ritter, click here.