Lynn v. Sekulow

Lynn v. Sekulow


Supreme Court Gets it Right in Memorial Cross Case

posted by Jay Sekulow

Barry, 

 

Now, this is a significant victory worth celebrating. In a very closely-watched case, the Supreme Court ruled that a World War I memorial in California’s Mojave Desert that features a memorial cross can remain in place.   

 

The high court said that the Constitution “does not require the eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm.” The court also stated: “The Constitution does not oblige government to avoid any public acknowledgment of religion’s role in society. . . . Rather, it leaves room to accommodate divergent values within a constitutionally permissible framework.”

 

The plurality opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy correctly concluded that “a Latin cross is not merely a reaffirmation of Christian beliefs. It is a symbol often used to honor and respect those whose heroic acts, noble contributions, and patient striving help secure an honored place in history for this Nation and its people. Here, one Latin cross in the desert evokes far more than religion. It evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles, battles whose tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten.”

The war memorial in question was erected more than 75 years ago by Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) to honor fallen service members in a remote area that is now part of a federal preserve. After the National Park Service denied a request to build a Buddhist shrine near the cross in 1999 and declared its intent to remove the cross, Congress designated the cross and an area of adjoining property as a national World War I memorial. Congress directed the Department of the Interior to convey one acre of property that included the memorial to the VFW in exchange for a five-acre parcel of equal value. The land could revert back to the federal government if the site ever ceases to be used as a war memorial.

 

It’s unfortunate that the high court stopped short of declaring the statute clearing the way for the land transfer constitutional. Justice Samuel Alito argued that the Court should have taken that action and wrote in a concurring opinion:

 

“If Congress had done nothing, the Government would have been required to take down the cross, which had stood on Sunrise Rock for nearly 70 years, and this removal would have been viewed by many as a sign of disrespect for the brave soldiers whom the cross was meant to honor. The demolition of this venerable, if unsophisticated, monument would also have been interpreted by some as an arresting symbol of a Government that is not neutral but hostile on matters of religion and is bent on eliminating from all public places and symbols any trace of our country’s religious heritage.”

 

We represented 15 members of Congress in our amicus brief in this case.  And, the decision upholding the display of the war memorial cross is an important one and represents a victory against anti-religious hysteria.

 

Barry, this decision also sent a message that the mere existence of a religious symbol in a public place does not create a constitutional crisis. The decision signals that other longstanding public war memorials that include crosses–such as the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial in San Diego, and the Argonne Cross and Canadian Cross of Sacrifice at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.–are constitutionally sound.

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Mr. Incredible

posted April 29, 2010 at 12:40 pm


From the bottom of my heart, congrats, Jay!
Boris says, in “Cross Should Survive Challenge,” that atheists have “moved on.” Reck’n that means they are utterly crushed by the ruling and don’t know what else t’say and are gonna avoid drawing attention to the fact that they lost big time. Good, I say. Kinda cuts down on the atheist yap-factor.



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Mr. Incredible

posted April 29, 2010 at 12:44 pm


==…a victory against anti-religious hysteria.==
That characterizes it accurately.



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Curmudgeon

posted April 29, 2010 at 12:53 pm


I don’t know where Mr. Incredible got the info that those opposed to the Mojave Cross are “atheists”. Perhaps he has some evidence he’d be willing to share with us lesser mortals?



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Mr. Incredible

posted April 29, 2010 at 1:21 pm


The prominent objection is from atheists. There may be other troublemakers sprinkled throughout the bunch that is against this cross. Atheists are the most vocal.
In any case, it doesn’t matter, I guess, what the breakdown is. They were countin’ on this, and they lost…big. Good.



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Doremus

posted April 29, 2010 at 1:28 pm


Hey, with this Supreme Court decision under our belts, now we can transfer our courthouses to Blackwater, Inc., and they can erect constitutional Ten Commandments displays.



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Doremus

posted April 29, 2010 at 1:34 pm


I don’t see the loss as “big.” It was 5-4, aligned according to usual suspects. What bothers me more is that all of these 5-4 decisions, whether I agree with them or not, are aligned by ideology, meaning there are no judges looking a constitutionality. Constitutionality is defined by the outcomes they desire. We have nine activist judges, whose only quibbles are over ideology, not law.



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Mr. Incredible

posted April 29, 2010 at 1:51 pm


Doremus says:
I don’t see the loss as “big.”
Mr. Incredible says:
It’s big cuz the group of those who are against the cross there campaigned so heavily against it.
Doremus says:
It was 5-4…
Mr. Incredible says:
That’s all it takes.
Doremus says:
…aligned according to usual suspects.
Mr. Incredible says:
So?
Doremus says:
What bothers me more is that all of these 5-4 decisions, whether I agree with them or not, are aligned by ideology…
Mr. Incrfedible says:
They may, or they may not. Ideology doesn’t mean anything if you’re doing the right thing.
Doremus says:
…meaning there are no judges looking a constitutionality.
Mr. Incredible says:
SCOTUS looked at constitutionality. What more do you want?
Doremus says:
Constitutionality is defined by the outcomes they desire.
Mr. Incredible says:
IF they desired this outcome. Not clear that they desired an outcome that aligns with their ideological desires.
Doremus says:
We have nine activist judges, whose only quibbles are over ideology, not law.
Doremus says:
Aaaannnnnnddd you know this how?



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Mr. Incredible

posted April 29, 2010 at 1:57 pm


Doremus, is this Court ideological cuz the decision doesn’t square with YOUR ideology?



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Doremus

posted April 29, 2010 at 2:27 pm


“Doremus, is this Court ideological cuz the decision doesn’t square with YOUR ideology?”
Well, I am a pretty strict constitutionalist, meaning there may be things that are constitutional that I don’t like, but I expect the SCOTUS to continue to find them constitutional; and if I don’t like something, badly enough, I expect to have to change the constitution rather than dodge it, ignore it, or find a “loophole” to get around it.
No, I did not agree with this decision. It was clearly a dodge around constitutionality via ex post facto “privatization.” But there have been 5 – 4 decisions I did agree with, while having zero faith that the justices who (predictably) voted my way were really at all concerned about the constitution or protecting individual liberty. I take no comfort from people who are right for the wrong reason. Especially judges. But I doubt you can comprehend that.
Why do you think partisans spend so much time ranting about the necessity to elect presidents who will appoint judges with the right ideology, rather than a firm grounding in constitutional law? All ends of the political spectrum have come do define constitutionality as, whatever enables their worldview and their desired outcomes to be achieved.



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hlvanburen

posted April 29, 2010 at 3:14 pm


I find the decision interesting, especially the wording which essentially removes any sectarian meaning from the symbol of the crucifixion of Christ. The Court is saying, in essence, that the cross does not symbolize the death of Christ and the salvation provided by that death, but rather it represents the deaths of the thousands upon thousands of soldiers who have given their lives in the defense of our nation.
A noble sentiment, but one that I would think most Christians would rebel against. The most powerful symbol of their faith, the heart and soul of their theology, is essentially re-defined by this decision into a humanist symbol…a symbol of the nobility of human beings giving their lives for other humans.
But, this case has been strange all along, so I am not surprised at the reaction of folks like Mr. Incredible. Of course, this takes away any argument they may have about the religious nature of the symbol since they have, in this case, sold that decision for more temporal and immediate political gain.



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Rich

posted April 29, 2010 at 3:22 pm


Hmmm, I guess this thing ain’t done just yet.



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Cronus13

posted April 29, 2010 at 3:44 pm


I can’t believe what an idiot J. Kennedy is. Those tombstones with little crosses on them represent the beliefs of the specific person who gave their lives to preserve the Constitution.
Now the idiot Catholic Majority on the Supreme Court has stated that that same cross now represents Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Agnostics and Atheists. Unless you believe only Catholics die in American Wars, you CANNOT POST A CROSS FOR ALL THE DEAD IN FOREIGN WARS. GODDAMN, could Kennedy and Sekulow be any dumber?



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Your Name

posted May 2, 2010 at 6:54 pm


Who is the idiot now?
cc



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Rich

posted May 3, 2010 at 1:05 pm


Cara,
re: “Who is the idiot now?
cc”
Thank you for answering your own question. We appreciate it, not that it was a tough puzzle or anything but it is always nice to have the answer key.



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Mr. Incredible

posted May 3, 2010 at 2:48 pm


Cronus13 says:
I can’t believe what an idiot J. Kennedy is.

“I can’t believe that Kennedy didn’t call to check with me first to see what I think.”



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Mr. Incredible

posted May 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm


Cronus13 says:
I can’t believe what an idiot J. Kennedy is.
Mr. Incredible translates:

“I can’t believe that Kennedy didn’t call to check with me first to see what I think.”



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Your Name

posted May 3, 2010 at 9:10 pm


No Rich,
I was just seeing idiot popping up again and again. An idiot would be those who still think that the womb carries something other than a child to be exterminated because they are not people.
So if that it includes you, you might want to reconsider your source of information for getting reproduction material.
The key to life would be for those to seek repentance, not to sit in a pile of dung and procede as if they are dishing out wisdom. Arrogance will not get you anywhere other than in a life full of self worship. There is your key.
cc



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Your Name

posted May 3, 2010 at 9:12 pm


The it is not an it, it is a child.
cc



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buy umbrella

posted August 11, 2010 at 5:50 am


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