Judge ordered city to remove monument after ruling it violates First Amendment's Establishment Clause

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BLOOMFIELD — Kevin Mauzy, the founder of Four Corners Historical Monument Project, said the Ten Commandments monument located outside of the Bloomfield City Hall will be moved to another prominent location within the city limits. 

The monument is owned by the Four Corners Historical Monument Project, which also owns the other monuments on the lawn, including the Gettysburg Address, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. The monuments were intended to recognize important documents that influenced the governing of the city.

MORE: U.S. Supreme Court declines Ten Commandments case

The Bloomfield City Council went into closed executive session Monday to discuss what the best time frame was for having the monument removed from the lawn.

Mauzy said the monument will be removed within 30 days and placed on private property. He said the Four Corners Historical Monument Project has several possible sites in mind but has not selected one.

A judge in 2014 ruled that the monument violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause and ordered the city to have it removed. The city appealed the case. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined Bloomfield's petition to hear it. While the city was appealing the case, the order requiring it to remove the monument was placed on hold.

In 2012, two Bloomfield residents sued the city and asked for the monument to be removed. When reached by phone today, Janie Felix, one of the plaintiffs, said she is pleased that the monument is going to be moved off government property. She said in her opinion, the monument is harming the First Amendment rights of Bloomfield residents.

Felix said when the monument was suggested in 2007, she and other residents petitioned to have it placed on private property or at a church rather than in front of City Hall.

"I think it definitely has its place on church property or any other private property," she said.

She said she has heard people remark that it should not be moved just because it offends one or two people, but Felix said more than just a couple of people share her feelings about the monument.

"There were many, many other people behind me," she said.

Felix said many of her supporters did not want to take a public stand against monument because they fear retribution.

MORE: State officials, members of Congress voice support for Bloomfield monument

Mauzy said the Ten Commandments monument, as well as the other stone monuments in front of City Hall, were intended to be a set. He said the Four Corners Historical Monument Project has not decided whether to keep the Gettysburg Address, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence monuments in front of City Hall. The organization could choose to move them with the Ten Commandments monument.

"It's kind of sad when it seems like our history, facts and truth don't seem to matter anymore," Mauzy said. 

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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