By Michael Davis
By placing six historical documents alongside a posting of the Ten Commandments in the county courthouse, Henry County leaders are hoping to avoid a lawsuit.
Though no suit has been filed, county commissioners passed a resolution Monday to hang framed copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Magna Carta alongside a donated copy of the Ten Commandments.
"That's a cornerstone n one of the cornerstones n of our laws and it's absolutely appropriate to display these," District IV Commissioner Gerry Adams said of the Commandments.
Monday's resolution authorizes the installation of the display, but officials gave no indication as to when the display would go up.
County Attorney Patrick Jaugstetter said that the Commandments' display as part of a collection of historical documents would be the best defense against any lawsuit seeking their removal.
Barrow County commissioners face a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union seeking the display's removal from the Barrow courthouse.
Barrow commissioners were in McDonough Aug. 2 to attend a rally in support of Henry officials' decision to accept the plaque from the League of the South and solicit donations to fight the Barrow lawsuit. Though county officials were invited to attend the rally and address supporters of the public display of the Commandments, no commissioners were present.
The Henry County chapter of the League of the South donated the Ten Commandments display to the county in July. Since that time, officials have been awaiting the arrival of the other documents in similar frames to be displayed along with the Commandments.
As part of Monday's resolution, another plaque to be installed with the display outlines the reasoning behind posting each of the seven documents.
"Our display is meant to demonstrate the Ten Commandments' role in the development of the legal system of the United States through a celebration of our code of law's cultural and historical roots," the plaque will say.
Last year, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from his post after defying a U.S. Supreme Court order to remove a 2-ton granite monument displaying the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the Alabama federal building.