Here's how Chief Justice Rehnquist, joined by Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy, described the setting:
The 22 acres surrounding the Texas State Capitol contain 17 monuments and 21 historical markers commemorating the “people, ideals, and events that compose Texan identity.” Tex. H. Con. Res. 38, 77th Leg. (2001). [FOOTNOTE TEXT, with links to my photos]: The monuments are: Heroes of the Alamo, Hood’s Brigade, Confederate Soldiers, Volunteer Fireman, Terry’s Texas Rangers, Texas Cowboy, Spanish-American War, Texas National Guard, Ten Commandments, Tribute to Texas School Children, Texas Pioneer Woman, The Boy Scouts’ Statue of Liberty Replica, Pearl Harbor Veterans, Korean War Veterans, Soldiers of World War I, Disabled Veterans, and Texas Peace Officers.]...Justice Breyer cast the deciding vote in Van Orden. Here's his description of the setting:
Texas has treated her Capitol grounds monuments as representing the several strands in the State’s political and legal history. The inclusion of the Ten Commandments monument in this group has a dual significance, partaking of both religion and government.
Here the tablets have been used as part of a display that communicates not simply a religious message, but a secular message as well. The circumstances surrounding the display’s placement on the capitol grounds and its physical setting suggest that the State itself intended the latter, nonreligious aspects of the tablets’ message to predominate....So it's just one monument in a group of monuments. What's your mental picture from that description? Like this?
The physical setting of the monument, moreover, suggests little or nothing of the sacred.... The monument sits in a large park containing 17 monuments and 21 historical markers, all designed to illustrate the “ideals” of those who settled in Texas and of those who have lived there since that time.... The setting does not readily lend itself to meditation or any other religious activity. But it does provide a context of history and moral ideals. It (together with the display’s inscription about its origin) communicates to visitors that the State sought to reflect moral principles, illustrating a relation between ethics and law that the State’s citizens, historically speaking, have endorsed. That is to say, the context suggests that the State intended the display’s moral message–an illustrative message reflecting the historical “ideals” of Texans–to predominate.
See the other monuments?
Perhaps a longer view will reveal the context that matters so much in Establishment Clause cases: