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DOE v. CTY. OF MONTGOMERY

April 7, 1994

JANE DOE, RICHARD ROE, AND RICHARD T. STEIN, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
THE COUNTY OF MONTGOMERY, STATE OF ILLINOIS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, District Judge:

OPINION

  "Why should we employ the energy that is furnished
  to us by the cosmos to defy it and shake our fist
  at the sky?"
    O.W. Holmes, "Natural Law," from the
      Collected Legal Papers.

PLAINTIFFS: Two anonymous residents of Montgomery County, Illinois, and Edward T. Stein, a lawyer from Chicago, Illinois.

SIGN: Ten foot long and approximately one and one-half feet high with lettering approximately one foot high.

LOCATION: over the main entrance of the Montgomery County Courthouse, Hillsboro, Montgomery County, Illinois.

MESSAGE: "THE WORLD NEEDS GOD"

ARGUMENT: Whether the sign constitutes state sponsorship of religion in violation of the Establishment Clause.

ISSUE: Do the anonymous Plaintiffs, and Attorney Stein, have standing to raise the constitutionality issue?

HOLDING: No.

I. The Allegations

Displayed over the entrance of the courthouse is a permanent metal sign ("the sign") bearing the message "THE WORLD NEEDS GOD." The sign is at least ten feet long and approximately one and one-half feet high with lettering approximately one foot high. While the courthouse has several entrances, the sign is displayed over the main, most prominent entrance. The sign has been displayed over this entrance since 1936.

Plaintiffs Doe and Roe claim that they are residents of Montgomery County, Illinois. Both object to Montgomery County's sponsorship of the religious message on the sign and wish to avoid the sign. However, both claim that to participate ...


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