The stone tablet on the U.S. Supreme Court’s East Frieze until 1975 was described as representing the “Ten Commandments.” Since then it’s been changed to the “Ten Amendments” based on an unsigned letter that conflicts with other evidence
It’s looking a lot like a cover-up at the U.S. Supreme Court, where officials appear to be suppressing evidence of representations of the nation’s Christian heritage at the court building, according to a pastor whose research is published at lacconline.org and gives evidence of that heritage.
“I’m not a conspirator,” Todd DuBord, senior pastor of the Lake Almanor Community Church, wrote in a new request to the high court to correct its information. “I must admit, however, that my recent research on the U.S. Supreme Court is making me think that cover-up might be more than make-up.”
He’s been advocating for corrections to the court’s online and tourist information since he traveled to Washington, D.C., on a tour looking at the Christian heritage of the United States. While there, some of the tour guides at the court building told him the East Wall Frieze stone tablet representation stands for the Ten Amendments, not the Ten Commandments as he had thought.
But his weeks of research, documented on the church’s website, have revealed that the weight of evidence provided by the government rests much more heavily on the interpretation that the tablet stands for the Ten Commandments, even though Supreme Court information officials deny that.
WND earlier reported on his documentation of the other representations of the Ten Commandments in the Supreme Court Building, the importance society at that time placed on the laws of Moses and the general recognition during that era by courts of the Ten Commandments as the basis for much of the U.S. law.
However, DuBord said he never got a response to his request, which was mailed and faxed to Court Information Officer Kathy Arberg, that the Supreme Court reconsider, and so he’s documented additional evidence that he believes should convince officials of the validity of his request for the change.
Specifically, he spent weeks researching the “support” for the current interpretation by court officials that the East Wall Frieze stone tablet is the ten amendments. The court’s interpretation rests on an unsigned letter purportedly from Adolph A. Weinman, the sculptor, to the architect of the building, Cass Gilbert.
This is part of the Supreme Court’s version of the letter purportedly calling the East Frieze stone tablet the ten ‘amendments.’ It apparently is a re-typing of the original two-page letter at the Smithsonian
Official Supreme Court documentation now states: “According to a letter from Weinman to Gilbert describing the design for this frieze, the pylon carved with the Roman numerals I to X between the two central figures symbolizes the first ten amendments to the Constitution, also known as the Bill of Rights.”
Arberg told WND the information she has access to is what’s available online and in court publications: that the letter purportedly from the sculptor to the architect designates that tablet as a representation of the amendments.
She said she wasn’t aware of a request from DuBord to review the evidence, or any of his research, and therefore couldn’t respond.
“I don’t know what you’re looking at,” she said when WND described some of DuBord’s research results.
“If you look at our website there are pages of information on architectural detail, including a description of the tablets over the bench. According to the correspondence between the sculptor and the architect, it is the ten amendments,” she said.
DuBord, however, provides documentation he believes is more than sufficient to change that statement by the court.
That so-called “Weinman letter” somehow apparently made its way into the archives between 1975, when the court’s official information described the tablet as the “Ten Commandments,” and 1988, one year after the court building became a historic landmark under the National Park Service, and all references to the tablet being the Ten Commandments were removed.
The pastor said in his earlier research that letter “likely” is bogus and certainly shouldn’t be regarded as sufficient evidence because it lacks Weinman’s signature, his letterhead and a routine stamp from Gilbert’s office that was used when he received documentation at the time.
The court also told a newspaper reporter the letter had been followed up with a written acknowledgment, and the handwritten notes accompanying the documentation supported the “amendments” interpretation.
DuBord, who describes himself as a “former atheist, then agnostic,” also says he is a “recovering doubter.” So he arranged to have Smithsonian files on the court building loaned to his local library.
There, searching through pages of microfiche, he found the letter to which court officials refer, dated Oct. 31, 1932. However, he found the Smithsonian copy of the letter has two pages, while the Supreme Court has one, making the one at the court an apparent re-typing.
It also contains a relatively long explanation, in the reference “showing the figure of Law resting on the tablet of the ten amendments to the Constitution known as the ‘Bill of Rights.’” Why would Weinman address his “boss,” the architect of the building, by teaching him about the ten amendments, as if he did not know what they were, DuBord wondered.
“Textual critics generally prefer shorter readings, because copyists tended to make erroneous elaborations – this scribal mistake is called homoteleuton, and could have been responsible here for a secretary or someone else’s erroneous copying from another source. Or was it a forger’s elaboration to assure the reading audience didn’t confuse the ten amendments with the Ten Commandments?” he wrote.
But he did note all of the routine verification markings for letters of this sort were absent, leaving the issue unresolved from that perspective, something that documents expert Catherine Millard, who has spent decades verifying historical documents, statements and representations, said feeds her suspicions that particular letter isn’t authentic.
However, he did discover three new reasons to question the letter’s authenticity.
One is the “response” from Gilbert. “There is a letter from Gilbert dated 11/4/32, five days after Weinman’s correspondence, but on the letter someone has made a correction that is too unbelievably quirky to be true!”
This bold-faced “31st” doesn’t match the rest of the typeface on a letter purportedly supporting the “Weinman” letter
The date on that letter, cited in the first sentence, is in bold-face, unlike the rest of the 1932 letter, tilted unlike the rest of the type and with the letters “st” compressed, again unlike other letters in the document, he noted.
“Why is it that this one letter, which is supposed to authenticate ‘the Weinman letter,’ which in turn is supposed to authenticate the ten amendments saga, has to have the date, ’31st,’ as the only part of the letter that has been clearly tampered with?” he asked.
“If I were a lawyer in a court of law, and was using this letter as evidence, specifically for the date mentioned in the body of it, I would have discarded it long ago, because the blatant skewing of the type would be open to so much conjecture and debate. And it is!” he said.
With doubts amplified, he went on to the “handwritten notes” from Weinman. However, those did not support the “amendments” argument either.
“The Information Officer also mentioned there were ‘handwritten notes’ from Adolph Weinman in the Smithsonian files that further validate the ten amendments theory. What I found was just the opposite!” DuBord said.
This handwritten note documents the “ten commandments,” not ten amendments
A second handwritten note from the Smithsonian describing the frieze as the “Ten Commandments”
A third handwritten note from the Smithsonian calling the disputed frieze the “ten commandments”
“I not only discovered handwritten notes from Adolph Weinman describing the tablet on the East Frieze with the words ‘Ten Commandments,’ but I uncovered at least two additional notes (in other’s handwriting?) saying the same thing.”
Additionally, he found another letter, from Gilbert to Weinman, dated Sept. 17, 1932, just a month before the famous “Weinman letter,” which does have Gilbert’s letterhead and signature.
“On the second page of it Gilbert specifically spells out what he wants to see in the East Frieze. And guess what he says? He wants ‘the ten Commandments,’” DuBord found.
Here Gilbert spells out his request for the “ten Commandments”
“Keep in mind Cass Gilbert was a perfectionist and an exacting man, evidenced in his correspondence to Weinman, dated 12/28/32, in which he told him, ‘under no circumstances would it be advisable to modify the design on the sculpture,’” DuBord said.
So one month before the “Weinman letter,” Gilbert tells Weinman that he wants the Ten Commandments on the East Frieze, Dubord wrote. “This is surely one more reason to cast doubt upon the “Weinman letter’ authenticity and hypothesis.”
He said there is one inescapable conclusion: “That someone either didn’t do enough research or that there is a supreme cover up.”
“The weight of evidence against the ‘Weinman letter’ is substantial: including (1) the spurious nature of the ‘Weinman letter,’ (2) the genuine nature of the ‘Gilbert letter,’ (3) several handwritten documents including at least one in Adolph Weinman’s own hand, describing the tablet as the ‘Ten Commandments,’ not to mention the facts (from ‘National Treasure’) that (4) Adolph Weinman created just a couple years later an exact duplicate of the tablet in the center of East Frieze over on the Oscar Straus Memorial in D.C. and called it ‘the Ten Commandments’ and (5) that architect Gilbert planned and displayed six other depictions of Moses and/or the Ten Commandments on the Supreme Court Building,” the pastor concluded.
Further, he said, the culture during the time the building was constructed generated these comments:
“Our laws are founded upon the Decalogue, not that every case can be exactly decided according to what is there enjoined, but we can never safely depart from this short, but great, declaration of moral principles, without founding the law upon the sand instead of upon the eternal rock of justice and equity.” – Supreme Court of North Carolina, 1917.
“The weight of historical, documentary, and architectural evidence clearly leans the scale to the fact that the tablet (or tableau) in the center of the East Frieze is the Ten Commandments, not the ten amendments. As a result, I, as well as tens of thousands across this country, are respectfully asking the Court to reconsider its change in years back in describing this tablet as the ‘ten amendments,’ instead calling it by its original identification for decades before: ‘the Ten Commandments,” he asked.
DuBord’s earlier research also noted the heritage of Christians is being removed from information released about the Monticello and Jamestown historic sites.
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