Louisiana First State to Mandate Ten Commandments in Public Classrooms, Guided by Expert Testimony from PJI

Baton Rouge, LA – Louisiana has become the first state to require that the Ten Commandments be displayed in every public school classroom under a bill signed into law by Republican Gov. Jeff Landry. This new legislation mandates that a poster-sized display of the Ten Commandments in “large, easily readable font” be required in all public classrooms, from kindergarten to state-funded universities.

On April 4, 2024, Pacific Justice Institute appeared before the Louisiana House Education Committee, to provide testimony on the constitutionality of House Bill 71, sponsored by State House Representative Dodie Horton.

Requiring the display of the Ten Commandments in each classroom as a part of America’s history, tradition, and the origins of American law was once traditional and accepted as an expression of religious liberty, and organizations were permitted to distribute copies of the Ten Commandments to school groups. This practice was restricted in 1980, when the court applied what has come to be known as the Lemon test, but the Supreme Court’s decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District in 2022 marked a notable shift and once again permitted government displays of religious content as long as it comports with America’s history and tradition.

In speaking to the Louisiana House Education Committee, Pacific Justice Insititute-Center for Public Policy Attorney Ron Hackenberg said, “The passage of House Bill 71 will enable students in the state of Louisiana to know the history and heritage of our legal system. Laws are the guardrails of society. Our young people need to know where they originated, and the moral authority for our American system of justice.”

PJI President and Founder, Brad Dacus elaborates, “This bill aligns perfectly with the Supreme Court’s findings in Kennedy. It historically and faithfully reflects our Founding Fathers’ reliance on the Ten Commandments as the foundation of America’s Justice System, and thus is essential for a proper understanding of our American history and Heritage.”

The bill passed the Louisiana House Education Committee by a 10-3 vote, and now has become law.