In Virginia case, judge grants protective order in FFRF suit

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Urbanski granted the plaintiffs’ motion to proceed using pseudonyms and a protective order in FFRF’s and the ACLU of Virginia’s lawsuit against the Giles County School Board for unconstitutionally displaying the Ten Commandments at Narrows High School.

The plaintiffs, a student and parent on whose behalf the suit was filed in September, will continue to be known as Doe 1 and Doe 2, Urbanski ruled Dec. 12. Earlier, Urbanski had refused to dismiss the case.

“The Court further instructs that no harassment, threats, intimidation or interference with the Plaintiffs will be tolerated and violators will be subject to contempt proceedings,” the order said.

Mathew Staver of the Christian-based Liberty Counsel, representing the school district, wanted the names made public: “You can’t shadow box when you don’t know who’s punching.”

“Don’t you think [anonymity] might be appropriate when you have the chairman of the Board of Supervisors calling these people anonymous cowards?” Urbanski asked Staver during oral arguments, the Roanoke Times reported. “That didn’t just come from a man on the street, that came from a public official.”

ACLU lawyer Rebecca Glenberg cited other comments made at public meetings or in emails to FFRF and ACLU. “Keep up the good work, you’ll have a special place in Hell,” one person wrote. Another said, “Sure sounds like non-Christians ought to move out of Giles County before things get ugly over there.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation