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Louisiana Passes Law Requiring Public Schools to Display the Ten Commandments in Classrooms 

On June 19, Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry signed a Republican-sponsored bill requiring public schools — from kindergarten to university — to display a poster of the Ten Commandments in all classrooms by 2025 to maintain state funding. The law specifies that the poster must be at least 11 feet by 14 feet, with the 10 Commandments as the primary subject of the poster in a readable font. Supporters of the legislation noted that including the Ten Commandments in classrooms would provide a moral code in schools and display an essential piece of American history. 

As soon as the bill was signed into law by Governor Landry, multiple civil rights groups across the state announced their intentions to file a lawsuit to fight the law’s constitutionality, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana. The ACLU and other critics of the law argue that the Supreme Court case Stone v. Graham (1980) sets a precedent against the new Louisiana law. The 1980 case struck down a remarkably similar law in Kentucky that also required that the Ten Commandments be displayed in schools. 

On the other hand, proponents of the law argue that the Supreme Court case Kennedy v. Bremerton School District (2022) supports the constitutionality of the new law. In this case, the Supreme Court upheld the right of a high school football coach to lead a prayer on a public school’s football field. The court argued that by allowing the coach to lead a prayer, they respected his First Amendment right by allowing religious speech while not violating the Establishment Clause. 

This new bill comes only weeks after another Republican-sponsored bill in Louisiana to label abortion pills as a controlled substance. People found in possession of the abortion drugs mifepristone or misoprostol can be charged with possession and sentenced to fines or jail time. These two bills show increasing conservatism and Christian nationalism within the state, especially among Governor Landry. 

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