.- A Federal Judge in Florida has ruled that the town of Palm Beach has until noon on Christmas Eve to decide whether it will allow Maureen Donnell and Fern deNarvaez to display Nativity scenes on public property alongside Jewish Menorahs.
For several months, Donnell and deNarvaez, residents of Palm Beach, requested that the city permit them to display a Christmas Nativity on public property alongside Jewish Menorahs that the city has allowed to be displayed during Hanukkah.
Judge Daniel Hurley concluded that the city of Palm Beachâs characterization of the Nativity dispute âis plainly erroneousâ and that the city was in âerrorâ by arguing that they need not respond to citizensâ requests to display a Christian Nativity.
In his order, Judge Hurley stated that it âis axiomatic that all persons, including municipal corporations like the Town of Palm Beach, are subject to the Constitution and laws of the United States.â
Hurley further noted that âa governmental decision-maker confronted with a citizenâs request for permission to express him or herself on public property is simply not at liberty to decline to consider (i.e. ignore) such requests by inaction.â
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center that filed the lawsuit, said that âthe town has been lectured by the judge that they are not above the law. What happens in this case will have a far reaching effect on how Christmas is celebrated throughout Florida.â