Judge awards $42,000 to ACLU in Jesus icon case

July 28, 2008

A federal judge awarded more than $42,000 in attorneys fees to the American Civil Liberties Union for a case challenging the legality of a religious icon hanging in a Louisiana courthouse.

U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle ruled earlier this year that it was unconstitutional for a portrait of Jesus to hang alone in the foyer of a Slidell courthouse.

Lemelle said he would have ordered court officials to remove the portrait if they hadn’t already expanded the display to include portraits of other historical “lawgivers.”

In his ruling this week, Lemelle said $42,739 is a reasonable amount to cover the ACLU’s fees and costs in the case. Lawyers for Louisiana’s ALCU chapter had asked for nearly $66,000.

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