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Published September 10 2010

Freethinkers’ lawsuit against Fargo dismissed

A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed the Red River Freethinkers’ lawsuit against Fargo over the Ten Commandments monument that sits outside the Fargo Civic Center.

In an order issued Wednesday, Judge Ralph R. Erickson dismissed the suit, agreeing with a recommendation made in August by Magistrate Judge Karen K. Klein.

Klein wrote previously that the Red River Freethinkers were raising similar issues already decided by the court and that they failed to meet the necessary criteria to bring the lawsuit.

The Freethinkers sued Fargo in 2008, claiming the city gave the monument a religious purpose in voting three years ago to keep it on public property outside the Civic Center.

The lawsuit revived a First Amendment argument originally addressed in a 2005 federal lawsuit, when the court determined the display was secular in nature.