NATIVITY SCENE LAWSUIT: A federal lawsuit challenges Baxter County's decision to allow Rick Spencer to put a Nativity scene on the Baxter County courthouse lawn, but not displays from a humanist group.
The Baxter Bulletin reports
on a lawsuit filed on behalf of a Baxter County
resident over the Nativity scene that has been erected on the Baxter County Courthouse lawn for decades by local lawyer Rick Spencer.
The group objected last year. This year. they sued. Under existing federal court precedent in Arkansas pertaining to the state Capitol, they should win in a laydown.
The issue is not the Nativity Scene directly. And it is not a quibble over the county's disclaimer that the display is a private effort that just happens to use a public lawn.
The issue is that the county allows Rick Spencer to use the lawn but has refused a request from humanists to put up a seasonal observance. It was just such a lawsuit that resulted in Republican Judge Susan Webber Wright's order that the state Capitol could not permit a Nativity scene provided by a nominal private organization, but could not refuse the freethinkers' solstice display.
Baxter County loses this lawsuit. A Little Rock lawyer should make some money on it. The county looks stupid and disrespectful of the 1st Amendment, but that's kind of the way popular sentiment is going these days.
You just can't favor one religion over another. Unless you live in Saudi Arabia. Or Arkansas.