The 22 acres surrounding the Texas State Capitol Building contain 17 monuments and 21 historical markers commemorating the “people, ideals, and events that compose Texan identity.” In 1961, the Fraternal Order of Eagles of Texas gifted to the State Capitol a small monolith depicting the Ten Commandments. The monolith also depicted an eagle grasping an American Flag, an eye inside a pyramid, two small tablets, stars of David, and Greek letters. The monolith was accepted and placed on the North Capitol grounds. Van Orden (plaintiff), a Texas resident brought suit in federal district court against Perry (defendant) and numerous other Texas state officials in their official capacities on the grounds that the monolith violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The district court rejected this constitutional challenge, and the court of appeals affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.