Brewster County deputies will be forced to remove cross decals from their vehicles starting this week after a settlement was reached in a lawsuit filed against the county by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).
— Maddy Ziegler (@FFRFMaddy) March 2, 2016
The FFRF is a nonprofit organization that promotes the “constitutional separation between religion and government,” according to its website. The organization sued Brewster County and its sheriff, Ronny Dodson, for providing and allowing deputies to place cross stickers on their government-issued vehicles. The FFRF argued this was contradictory of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment.
According to the plaintiffs’ original complaint, filed in early March of this year, the crosses began to appear in early December 2015. In late December, Rod Ponton, the 83rd District Attorney, submitted a request to Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, to give an opinion on whether or not the stickers were in violation of the Constitution. Paxton had planned to submit an opinion by June 20.
However, on March 22, Brewster County Commissioners met internally and voted to ban “political, religious, commercial or personal” displays on county property. Greg Hudson, the attorney that represented the county, told The Daily Caller that this “basically rendered the lawsuit moot.”
Hudson stated that rather than litigate the issue, the parties decided to “settle the case and move on down the road.” However, Hudson made clear that there was no winner in this situation, and that the sheriff and county decided to “save the fight for another day.”
Sheriff Dodson is not commenting on the lawsuit or settlement at this time.