Franklin County Courthouse in Indiana. (Credit: Facebook.)
This Christmas, a Nativity scene was set to be on display at the Franklin County Courthouse in Brookville, Indiana, as it has been for close to 50 years. Thanks to a legal settlement, however, the three wise men will also have to share space with a separate display showing the Bill of Rights on a manger. The Indianapolis Star reports that a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana over that Nativity scene has been dismissed, with the condition that Franklin County will allow local residents and churches to erect nonreligious displays outside the courthouse.
Nonresidents can also apply for a permit to put up a display, but they must have a local contact. The suit was filed on behalf of Freedom From Religion Foundation in Wisconsin and The Satanic Temple, a group based in Massachusetts. It is the second suit to be filed over the Nativity scene in as many years. — Richard Binder
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In 2007, 55-year-old Barry Green, a resident at Lakeside Manor nursing home in Staten Island, N.Y., needed to make a phone call. There was only one pay phone in the lobby, and Green, who has trouble walking, had to wait on a long line. He filed a lawsuit against the nursing home, demanding more phones. A second phone was added, but the suit sought three more. Eight years and more than $100,000 in legal fees later, the case is ongoing. “It’s ridiculous, but it needs to be done,” Green told The New York Post. An unnamed attorney, who described Green as a cross between Kelsey Grammer and Truman Capote, told the Post that the suit is alive because lawyers hope to set a precedent for plaintiffs to sue over “everything from ‘My mashed potatoes are too cold’ to ‘My TV reception is fuzzy.’ ” The case was assigned to Judge Alan Marin, who, according to another attorney, “ drew the short straw.” — Richard Binder
“Okay, everybody, I gotta get to ‘Star Wars.’ ” —President Barack Obama, Dec. 18, signing off on what he planned as his final press conference of 2015. The White House’s private theater was showing a cut of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” for families who lost loved ones in Iraq.
A Virginia man was charged with bigamy when his second and third wives visited him in jail at the same time. Frank E. Blake Jr. hadn’t divorced his second wife before marrying his third. After an investigation, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, police discovered Blake had also married his second wife before the divorce from his first wife was finalized. Blake pleaded no contest to the charge. He has been sentenced to five years in prison, with three and a half suspended. — Richard Binder