A lawsuit over a 60-year-old monument of the Ten Commandments in front of a school in Pennsylvania is back on.
A federal appellate court found that Marie Schaub could prove she had been harmed by the religious symbol on public school grounds. Schaub, who is an atheist, said she sent her daughter, who is not identified by name in the suit, to another school to prevent her from regularly seeing the monument. The daughter’s standing in the case was not reinstated.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case in May after Schaub appealed the case’s dismissal last year by U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry, who ruled she did not have standing in the case.
“A community member like Schaub may establish standing by showing direct, unwelcome contact with the allegedly offending object or event, regardless of whether such contact is infrequent or she does not alter her behavior to avoid it,” Third Circuit Judge Patty Shwartz wrote in the ruling issued Tuesday.
According to the complaint filed by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation in 2012, the nearly six-foot tall statue sits directly in front of the entrance to Valley Junior-Senior High School in the New Kinsington-Arnold School District. The organization requested the “unconstitutional” statue be removed because the numerous plaintiffs, including Schaub, “believe that the religious or non-religious upbringing of their children is their own personal right and responsibility, not the right or responsibility of the District.”
The school district can request the case be heard again by the full Third Circuit Court bench, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Other organizations that expressed support for Schaub’s position include Americans United for Separation of Church & State, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Social Policy Action Network and the Sikh Coalition.
If Schaub wins the suit, the statue will be removed.