Stone v. Graham

Facts of the Case

Sydell Stone and others, members of the Kentucky Civil Liberties Union, brought an action in a Kentucky trial court challenging the validity, under the


Did the Kentucky statute violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment?


In a 5-to-4 per curiam decision, the Court ruled that the Kentucky law violated the first part of the test established in Lemon v. Kurtzman, and thus violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. The Court found that the requirement that the Ten Commandments be posted had no secular legislative purpose and was plainly religious in nature. The Court noted that the Commandments did not confine themselves to arguably secular matters (such as murder, stealing, etc.), but rather concerned matters such as the worship of God and the observance of the Sabbath Day.

Case Information

  • Citation: 449 US 39 (1980)
  • Decided Nov 17, 1980