Today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases concerning Ten Commandment displays on government property. Tony Mauro of Legal Times points out that there is such a display within the Supreme Court's chamber, part of a frieze around the top of the room carved by sculptor Adolph Weinman.
The frieze depicts a parade of "great lawgivers of history," as Weinman put it, along with Hammurabi, the king of Babylon, among others. Among them is Moses, carrying a tablet clearly meant to represent the Decalogue.
What is less clear is why Weinman used Hebrew text rather than the typical Roman numerals in depicting the Ten Commandments in Moses' hands, and why he shows only commandments six through ten -- usually viewed as the more secular of the Ten Commandments.
Some have even asked why Moses' beard obscures enough of the Hebrew that instead of reading "Though Shalt Not Steal," it says "Steal," and similarly appears to command viewers to kill and commit adultery, to boot. An Israeli sculptor named Avrahaum Segol has bombarded the Court and the media with letters questioning Weinman's motivations. Earlier this year a Court official wrote Segol that "It is clear that the sculptor intended for the tablet to represent the entire text of the Ten Commandments."