STEUBENVILLE, Ohio – Wheeling law firm Bordas & Bordas has offered to represent the city of Steubenville, Ohio, pro-bono against a Wisconsin foundation that has threatened to take legal action if the city does not remove the religious symbols from its logo.
The city initially agreed in July to change its logo after the Freedom from Religion Foundation of Madison, Wis., threatened that it would take legal action because the logo has a cross and a chapel silhouette depicting the Christ the King Chapel on the Franciscan University of Steubenville campus. The city felt trying the case might come at a significant financial cost for taxpayers.
James Bordas Jr. has offered to provide the city legal services free-of-charge if it decides to not change its logo and the Wisconsin foundation follows through with the threat.
Bordas & Bordas is in Wheeling, but it also has an office in St. Clairsville, Ohio.
Bordas said the cross and chapel represent the Franciscan University of Steubenville as the city's landmark and not as a religious endorsement.
"It's a very difficult case ... the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] is serious about fighting this thing," Bordas said. "They'd bring in lawyers from across the country to fight it. It's going to be a tough case ... and may go to the Supreme Court. If it does, so be it. We're willing to do it."
The logo design for the city was unveiled last December and afterward, the foundation contacted the city on behalf of a resident who complained about the religious imagery.
Supporters of the logo circulated a petition and delivered it to City Council in late July, hoping to keep the logo the same.
Bordas said the issue in the case would be whether or not simply showing the cross of the long-standing city landmark amounted to "state-supported religion."