- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (AP) - A federal judge has canceled a trial in a lawsuit challenging a nativity scene at the Baxter County Courthouse and will instead rule based on court filings in the case.

U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks issued an order Monday canceling the Oct. 15 trial because “there are no genuine issues of material fact to be tried.” He said he will rule based on both sides’ motions for summary judgment in the case.

Mountain Home businesswoman Dessa Blackthorn and the American Humanist Association filed suit last year, saying the county shouldn’t allow a Nativity scene at the courthouse every December while denying requests for other displays on the property. The lawsuit claims County Judge Mickey Pendergrass denied requests for a “Happy Winter Solstice” banner and a menorah outside the courthouse.

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