Judge Ronald Lagueux called the prayer banner saga a "drawn-out affair" consisting of two months of "divisive debate."
"It is time to move on," the judge wrote in his Thursday denial of a motion by a group of past and present Cranston High School West students asking him to intervene and consider reversing his January ruling ordering the prayer banner hanging in the school auditorium be removed.
Lagueux described the motion, which was filed by Michael Motaranni, Christian Frangos, Olivia Frangos, Carolyn Mesagno, Lori McClain, Jared McMullen and Ronald L'Heureux, as not "timely" and based on "frivolous arguments."
He wrote that their request for a motion to intervene in a closed case, a stay in the decision and order and for him to reconsider his decision came after the banner had already come down and was already "a done deal."
"Courts generally look with disfavor on motions to intervene that are filed after the entry of final judgement," Lagueux wrote. "The matter of the prayer mural was covered extensively by the news media. Moreover, it seems apparent tot ht Court tat at least some of the would-be intervenors attended some or all of the many public hearings held by the Cranston School Committee in connection with this issue. By mid-January, when the court issued its Decision and Order, Movants knew that the Court's ruling had not gone as they hoped."
More than a month went by as the School Committee went through a process before deciding to not appeal the ruling. The final judgement was entered two-and-a-half weeks later. It wasn't until then that the group filed their motion.
The group's arguments, which were based on various bits of case law, is described by Lagueux as "a mishmash of misguided and frivolous arguments."
"They assert that compelling and dispositive arguments were presented to the Cranston School Committee at the public hearings that were not included in the Defendants' briefs to this Court. Movants believe that these arguments, if considered by this court, would have resulted in a different ruling," Lagueux wrote. "They are wrong."
Quoting Alexander Pope, Lagueux said "A little learning is a dangerous thing."
Lagueux said the Movants argued that all of the Supreme Court's rulings on the Establishment Cause of the Constitution, which sets the framework for separation of church and state standards, is based on one decision: Everson v. Board of Ed. of Ewing Township in 1947, which they said was "wrongly decided in contravention" of the constitution.
They also cite the state and national Constitutions and various writings from the founding fathers that speak to the role of Christianity in our country.
Those arguments were frivolous, Lagueux said, because the Movants "concede as a part of their argument that this Court's decision is in line with a half-century of Supreme Court precedent. This court is not merely guided, but it is bound, by Supreme Court precedent."
That requirement is known as stare decisis and is "a bedrock of the rule of law on which the stability of our nation is based," the judge wrote. "Suffice it to say that the Supreme Court precedents on school prayer are clear, and this court is bound to adhere to that law."
Peruse our exhaustive coverage of the prayer banner saga by scrolling through our archives HERE.