Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Supreme Court Has an Opportunity to Protect a WWI Memorial and Make Religious Liberty History

Mark Gail/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Next week, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in what may be a watershed case for religion in public life in the United States. At least, that’s what some religious liberty proponents hope will happen.
The question is whether a 40-foot, 93-year-old World War I memorial in the shape of a cross at a busy intersection in Bladensburg, Maryland, violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Here’s my explainer from 2017:
So why could the Supreme Court make legal history on this case? Well, as it stands, the body of precedent on the Establishment Clause gives courts, attorneys, and government officials no clear standards to figure out whether or not a “passive display” that has religious imagery violates the First Amendment or not.
Since 1971, courts have inconsistently applied the three-pronged “Lemon test,” which came out of the Lemon v. Kurtzman case. In short, it tests whether the display in question has a secular purpose, doesn’t advance or inhibit religion, and doesn’t foster “excessive entanglement” between church and state. However, in a 2005 Ten Commandments case, a plurality of the SCOTUS justices opted to forgo the Lemon test, calling it “not useful in dealing with the sort of passive monument” in that case and instead focusing on the “nature of the monument” and “our Nation’s history.”
Read the rest of from Nate Madden HERE.

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