Lynn v. Sekulow

Lynn v. Sekulow


Mojave Cross – No Constitutional Crisis

posted by Jay Sekulow

Barry, it was good to see you today.  I always enjoy an opportunity to sit next to you during oral arguments at the Supreme Court – especially with a case like the one we witnessed today. 

As we both know, this case is closely watched and involves the display of an 8-foot cross on a mountain top in California’s Mojave Desert – a memorial honoring war veterans.  The case is Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, et al., v. Buono. (08-472)

Like most of these cases, the Justices were divided on this issue.  And, Justice Kennedy, who is often the deciding vote in these church/state cases, said little to reveal how he will vote on this case.

 

The fact is that just because a group is ‘offended’ by the presence of a display doesn’t make it unconstitutional.  As you know, the origins of this case go back 70 years – when the Veterans of Foreign Wars built a wooden cross honoring the war dead.

And, in our amicus brief, in which we represent 15 members of Congress, we argue what many of the Justices understand – this challenge has no place in federal court. 

Our brief asserts:  “This case is only the most extreme example of a phenomenon that has plagued the federal courts for the past three decades. Ideologically motivated citizens and public interest groups search out alleged Establishment Clause violations, almost always in the form of a passive religious symbol or display of some sort, and make a federal case out of offense at the display.”

We also make the argument that those who are offended by government speech or displays should not be permitted to use an Establishment Clause claim to seek relief in federal court.  “The basis for standing is typically that the religious display offends the sensibilities of the plaintiffs,” the brief argues.  “The offense may be characterized as an affront to religious values, or as one in which plaintiffs feel stigmatized as political or community outsiders.  But the sum and substance of the injury is that the display bothers the plaintiffs.”  We also contend that the lax rules governing who can sue under the Establishment Clause are not consistent with the Constitution and separation of powers doctrine.

Yes, the Justices engaged this issue today during oral arguments. And like most of these cases, it is likely to be a close vote.  But in the end, I believe we will see a divided Court uphold the constitutionality of this display. 

To subscribe to “Lynn v. Sekulow” click here.

 



Advertisement
Comments read comments(18)
post a comment
Cherylene

posted October 7, 2009 at 2:41 pm


I think it’s all crap. Leave it there. We have had so many things taken from us the people of the USA…..Why do we have to change our beliefs that have been here forever?????? If people don’t like the way we do things…GET OUT They want to keep they’re traditions and bring them to our USA, then let us keep ours.No more Christmas programs, Halloween, Easter,etc…I just read that a football player got a penalty for his excitement after a touch down. Come on. Don’t take all the fun from us. Quit taking things from us and quit telling us we can’t celebrate and enjoy the excitement that is natural. What the hell is going on here.



report abuse
 

TOM

posted October 7, 2009 at 4:08 pm


Cherylene my family has been in this country for generations I have no intention of going anywhere and I do believe that the cross should come down. Even though I am not a Christian the cross its self dose not bother me to much what does is and is being forgotten is this all came about because of the NPS’s refusal to erect a requested Buddhist Shrine near by. Now the cross is not necessarily government endorsement of Christianity however its exclusivity is. By refusing other religious monuments the government is endorsing Christianity and that I have a problem with. Oh and one more thing the American love it or leave it stance is about as un-American as you can get we grow and improve through change.



report abuse
 

Rich

posted October 7, 2009 at 4:22 pm


Cherylene,
Wow, what a bunch of nonsense you just wrote.
re: “We have had so many things taken from us the people of the USA”
Oh really! What?
re: “Why do we have to change our beliefs that have been here forever??????”
Who said you have to change your beliefs? No one of course. And “beliefs that have been here forever”, no even close to true, forever is a bit of a stretch. Religions are fads that come and go.
re: “If people don’t like the way we do things…GET OUT”
Indeed we have Separation of church and State in our country. If you don’t like it, please go to Iran. Sounds like you would love their theocratic government.
Re: your anti-immigrant screed
Just an FYI for you here, this has nothing to do with immigrants changing the church/State relationship. I myself was born in the good ol’ USA and it is ridiculous that you are trying to portray this as a movement started by immigrants. The battle over separation has been going on since our country began by kicking churches out of positions of governmental power, they have been whining since that time. I think your statements are truly as un-American as one can get. It is shameful that you know so little about our Constitutional freedoms.
re:”What the hell is going on here.”
Good question. It all has to do with too many Americans who have an incomplete ability to understand our history, our Constitution and the importance of church/State separation. In other words, the religious right has been “dumbed-down” to a pathetic and sadly comical level.



report abuse
 

Rich

posted October 7, 2009 at 4:28 pm


By the way Cherylene,
My father-in-law served in WWII. He is an atheist. He also lost two brothers in WWII. They were both atheists.
Now, are you going to try and tell me that these 3 veterans who proudly served their country should be happy with a top placed upon their grave? Do really think a cross is an appropriate symbol to honor my father-in-law?
There are many symbols that can be used. The cross symbolizes Christianity only. It does not symbolize the many non-religious American patriots who have served our country.



report abuse
 

DSJulian

posted October 7, 2009 at 4:48 pm


Cherylene: “Why do we have to change our beliefs that have been here forever??????”
Who is “we” what are “our beliefs” and how long is “forever”? According to the facts in this case, “We” means everybody, “our beliefs means the cross is just another generic secular symbol, and “forever” means about two generations (70 years).
What I want to know is why some Christians think it is ok to use subterfuge (like changing the title to the land under the cross), half-truths (as if the cross does not really represent Christianity), and outright lies (some are now falsely claiming that if the Supreme Court rules against this cross then all crosses in government-owned cemeteries will also have to be removed) in order to publicly profess their faith?
Since when is the presence, power, and glory of Almighty God diminished by the presence or absence of a couple of poles screwed together?
And what happened to Luke 6:27-30 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.” NIV
I must have missed the verse that says “If someone wants you to take down your generic secular plus sign, take him all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary to hang onto what’s yours!” Either that, or they must be using a different Bible translation…



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted October 7, 2009 at 4:51 pm


Was it so wrong to be under God. Does England still believe in worshipping the God of Christianity?
Is that why The American’s came over to this country, so they would not have to be under authority or God?
I don’t believe that God intended for us to be seperate from him in anything. That would be like, saying an apple tree, should not have apples on it. Like, it could be something else and proclaim to be a
Ficus or something. Or pretend to go into a building and say it was a person with no relavence toward God about anything. Without any standard of authority other than what somebody, somewhere has told them. A person without authority , would be making their own belief system the authority. Take God out of the equation and you have men without standards, other than their scewed perception of whatever they want to do or what they think is right.
Tea Parties are good. Especially with some of those lemon bars or almond cookies.



report abuse
 

strech

posted October 7, 2009 at 5:24 pm


Ok, then, Mr. Sekulow. Remove taxpayer standing for establishment clause violations. Now, Let’s say this is an establishment clause violation, for the sake of argument. So who then has standing to challenge this unconstitutional exercise of government power? And what mechanism would you leave to redress and correct such violations of the constitution?



report abuse
 

Pete Henderson

posted October 7, 2009 at 6:33 pm


If this cross doesn’t come down then, any and every, religion who wants can erect their symbol along side it. Soon we will have something far more complex than ‘COEXIST’ made from various symbols adorning that hill.



report abuse
 

RhoEps

posted October 7, 2009 at 8:36 pm


Stretch:
Nobody would then be able to challenge it. I think that is the point.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted October 7, 2009 at 8:55 pm


Yeah, what he said.



report abuse
 

Katie

posted October 7, 2009 at 9:03 pm


Wow, Mr. Sekulow, your amicus brief is disingenuous in the extreme.
You claim that “The basis for standing is typically that the religious display offends the sensibilities of the plaintiffs. The offense may be characterized as an affront to religious values, or as
one in which plaintiffs feel stigmatized as political or community outsiders. But the sum and substance of the injury is that the display bothers the plaintiffs.”
That’s a nice attempt at marginilizing the plaintiffs, and reducing their complaints to something trivial. Of course, it’s a lie, and it distorts their argument completely. Smells like desperation to me. Could you know that you’re wrong, and this brief is a desperate bid to find a reason – any reason – to win?
And you don’t even argue it on the merits. You do it on a technicality, on standing. That’s a lawyer’s trick.
Great list of Congressional backers, btw. Fifteen rightwing nutjobs are backing you. Not a civil libertarian among them. You must be so proud.
I would have more respect for you if you put together a cogent argument, but you haven’t. I don’t for a minute believe that you have so misread the plaintiff’s petition. I don’t believe for a minute that you really think that the plaintiff is just psychologically bothered by the display. You know exactly what the issues are, and you’re lying, because you know it’s indefensible.
Biblical morality indeed.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted October 7, 2009 at 10:31 pm


To use a government which is of, by, and for The People (E Pluribus Unum)in such a way is contemptable.



report abuse
 

vernon

posted October 7, 2009 at 11:38 pm


founding fathers setup for majority rule not rule of the disgruntled.
and since congress can make no rules respectin or retrictin relig expression, why are the courts doin laws congress not allowed to?



report abuse
 

Rich

posted October 7, 2009 at 11:56 pm


Vernon,
Actually, you are wrong. This is not a country of “majority rule”. I would think that even the most minimally educated American would know this. Clearly, you do understand that the majority can’t vote to prevent African-Americans from voting don’t you? As well, you could not have a vote to outlaw a particular church. The reason for this is that as Americans we have protected rights as defined by our Constitution. One of those rights is to have a government that does not favor religion.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted October 12, 2009 at 6:16 pm


Katie-blah blah blah blah



report abuse
 

nicholas

posted October 19, 2009 at 3:52 pm


your name-excellent rebuttal!



report abuse
 

Mr. Incredible

posted October 28, 2009 at 6:12 am


Rich
October 7, 2009 11:56 PM
Vernon,
This is not a country of “majority rule”. [Sic]
———————————————————–
Yes, it is.
Rich
October 7, 2009 11:56 PM
… the majority can’t vote to prevent African-Americans from voting…
———————————————————–
That’s cuz the Constitution is supreme, above even although both People. However, that does not defeat the argument that majority rule rules.
Rich
October 7, 2009 11:56 PM
… you could not have a vote to outlaw a particular church.
———————————————————–
As I explained above, a simple vote of the People cannot overturn what the Constitution allows. The Constitution is supreme.
Rich
October 7, 2009 11:56 PM
The reason for this is that as Americans we have protected rights as defined by our Constitution. One of those rights is to have a government that does not favor religion.
———————————————————–
Government must be neutral, and that means that government, also, cannot not favor religion. It isn’t just YOUR way.



report abuse
 

Mr. Incredible

posted October 28, 2009 at 6:14 am


above even although both People — — > above even a vote of the People



report abuse
 



Previous Posts

Another Blog To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting LynnvSekulow. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: Jay Sekulow: Faith and Justice  Happy Reading!

posted 11:26:38am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Another blog to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Lynn V. Sekulow. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: Jay Sekulow's Faith and Justice Happy Reading!!!

posted 10:36:04am Jul. 06, 2012 | read full post »

More to Come
Barry,   It's hard to believe that we've been debating these constitutional issues for more than two years now in this space.  I have tremendous respect for you and wish you all the best in your new endeavors.   My friend, I'm sure we will continue to square off in other forums - on n

posted 4:52:22pm Dec. 02, 2010 | read full post »

Thanks for the Memories
Well Jay, the time has come for me to say goodbye. Note to people who are really happy about this: I'm not leaving the planet, just this blog.As I noted in a personal email, after much thought, I have decided to end my participation and contribution to Lynn v. Sekulow and will be doing some blogging

posted 12:24:43pm Nov. 21, 2010 | read full post »

President Obama: Does He Get It?
Barry,   I would not use that label to identify the President.  I will say, however, that President Obama continues to embrace and promote pro-abortion policies that many Americans strongly disagree with.   Take the outcome of the election - an unmistakable repudiation of the Preside

posted 11:46:49am Nov. 05, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.