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Supreme Court Allows Cross to Stand on Public Property

Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision in The American Legion v. The American Humanist Association, ruled that a cross erected on public property honoring World War I soldiers is not a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and, therefore, it will be allowed to remain where it has stood for almost 100 years.

In writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito noted that the cross “has become a prominent community landmark, and its removal or radical alteration at this date would be seen by many not as a neutral act but as the manifestation of ‘a hostility toward religion that has no place in our Establishment Clause traditions.’”

In a press release, The American Legion’s lead counsel, Michael Carvin, said, “We are grateful for this historic victory for the First Amendment. This decision simply affirms the historical understanding of the First Amendment that allows government to acknowledge the value and importance of religion.”

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented in the decision.

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Supreme Court Weighs Constitutionality of Peace Cross

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in The American Legion v. American Humanist Association, which challenges the constitutionality of the Bladensburg, Md., Peace Cross erected by the American Legion in 1925 to honor the memories of 49 brave World War I soldiers.

Those who oppose the cross claim it is a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment clause, but as Alexandra McPhee, director of Religious Freedom Advocacy at Family Research Council, pointed out, “All of America’s increasingly diverse religious communities will lose out if the Constitution is reinterpreted to prohibit any government recognition or accommodation of religion. The Peace Cross, religious implications and all, should be allowed to stand.”

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