Displays of the Ten Commandments in the Jackson County Courthouse have been removed in an effort to help resolve a federal lawsuit.
The county has not filed a response to an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit that says nine framed displays throughout the courthouse were a violation of First Amendment rights of co-plaintiff Eugene Phillips Jr.
Taking the displays down "will be a big step in getting that resolved," County Attorney George T. Hays said.
According to the lawsuit, Jackson Judge-Executive William O. Smith and the county fiscal court authorized the displays of the commandments in 1999 for "no secular purpose."
The framed displays were at the courthouse entrances and outside the offices of court clerks, staircases and restrooms.
Smith could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday but told WYMT-TV in Hazard that he removed the Commandments because "we do not want to jeopardize the taxpayers of our community and make them liable for something that is unfair."
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