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Court may opt to pay fees from Bible suit
Topics | 2008/03/03 11:28
pHarris County Commissioners Court will decide today whether it will pay about $400,000 in legal fees to a woman who sued to have a Bible removed from a monument near the downtown civil courthouse./ppAll but about $40,000 in fees were incurred after the county appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court./ppHarris County officials have been poor stewards of taxpayers' money, said Randall Kallinen, lawyer for Kay Staley, a real estate agent and lawyer who sued to have the Bible removed. They knew displaying the Bible was unconstitutional, and they continued fighting for political reasons./ppCounty Attorney Mike Stafford said the county appealed the case because officials believed that there was a constitutional question about whether a Bible could be part of a display honoring a person./ppYou can't just look at what the trial court does and give up, he said./ppThe court is scheduled to discuss possible payment of the legal fees in executive session./ppIn 1956, the county gave Star of Hope mission permission to erect the monument with a Bible displayed in it to honor a key benefactor, William Mosher. The monument was near the entrance of the then-Civil Courts Building on Fannin./ppFour years ago, U.S. District Judge Sim Lake ruled that the display violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, which prohibits governments from endorsing or inhibiting a religion. Lake ruled the display promoted Christianity, and the Bible was taken out./ppThe case could have ended a year ago when the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals declared the case moot after the county moved the monument while the Civil Courts Building was restored. But the county appealed to the Supreme Court./p


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