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Judge dismisses Christian group's lawsuit over Santa Monica Christmas nativity scene

A nativity scene in Palisades Park.
A nativity scene in Palisades Park.
via NBC LA

A Los Angeles federal judge has dismissed a Christian group's lawsuit to force suburban Santa Monica to reopen spaces in a city park to private displays, including Christmas Nativity scenes.

U.S. District Court Judge Audrey Collins issued the ruling Thursday after earlier this month denying an injunction sought by the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee. The case was "dismissed with prejudice", meaning that the committee is barred from bringing an action on the same claim.

"The City’s blanket ban on all private unattended displays in Palisades Park did not violate (the committee's) constitutional rights," Collins wrote. "Because (the committee's) complaint is legally deficient, any amendment would be futile."

Christmas Nativity scenes had been erected in Palisades Park for decades. Last year, atheists overwhelmed the city's auction process for display sites, winning 18 of 21 slots and triggering a bitter dispute.

The city then banned all private, unattended displays at the park.

An attorney for the group says he plans to appeal the ruling, which can be read in its entirety below.

Federal Judge Order in Santa Monica Nativity Scene Case