Supremes hear cross arguments

High Court Hears Religious Symbol Case


From NPR News

The U.S. Supreme Court took on a long-running legal fight Wednesday over an 8-foot cross in the Mojave Desert.

The court heard arguments on whether the cross, which was erected on federal parkland as a war memorial, violates the rights of those who are offended by its religious symbolism.

Arguing against the cross was Peter Eliasberg of the ACLU. He faced close questioning from two justices, Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia. Alito suggested that the court should take the government at its word that it had jettisoned any connection to the cross. Justice Scalia went further. I will stipulate, said Scalia, that the government was trying to arrange it so that the cross could remain there, but that doesn’t mean it’s invalid.

Answer: It’s invalid because the government didn’t act in a neutral way. It didn’t put the land up for bid. It gave the land to the group it had already favored. It designated the cross as one of 49 national memorials and it conditioned the land transfer on maintaining the cross.

Justice Scalia: The cross doesn’t honor non-Christians who fought in the war? Where does it say that?

Answer: It doesn’t say that. But the cross is the predominant symbol of Christianity.

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