Felix v City of Bloomfield

City appealed the district court’s judgment finding a Ten Commandments display unconstitutional. The panel affirmed. It held Felix and the other plaintiff here had standing as they saw the display several times a week driving by an when they went to city hall to pay utilities. It held that the display was permanent in nature given its 3,400 pound weight and attached to steel dowels 14 inches in the ground and thus is per se government speech. It held the display violated the Establishment Clause because it communicated a religious message, was located in a prominent place on city hall property, was financed by local churches and the unveiling ceremony included prayer and religious text in speeches and the lawsuit was filed less than one year after the monument was installed. It rejected City’s arguments to the contrary holding the monument is government speech not only because it is permanent but also because the sponsor was on the city council when the proposal was made and two other members of the council provide money through their churches, the small disclaimer at eth bottom of the monument and an equivocal disclaimer about the display area were ineffective due to eth size of the first and the equivocal nature of the second, there was no forum policy when the monument was first approved and merely adding secular displays later without doing anything else to cure the religious message was insufficient to purge the taint of religion from the monument.