Search  |  Login  |  Register

By Jay Sekulow1308882721000

The Supreme Court does not take many cases.  But, we're urging the high court to take an important case out of Utah where a federal appeals court has declared the placement of crosses along Utah highways unconstitutional.

Here's the story.  The Utah Highway Patrol Association, a private, nonreligious organization, erected Latin crosses that conspicuously displayed, along with the Highway Patrol logo, the names, pictures, ranks, badge numbers, service information, and years of death of Utah Highway Patrol officers who died in the line of duty. The Association erected the crosses in locations safely accessible to the public that were as close as possible to the sites where the officers died. The crosses were intended to serve as memorials to the officers’service and sacrifice and to remind drivers of the importance of driving safely.

An atheist organization challened the crosses and a decision by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit determined the violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

We disagree.  That's why we have filed an amicus brief urging the high court to take this case and to overturn the appeals court decision.

The fact is this case is just another just another troubling example of the courts being used to remove symbols to honor those who have given their lives in service to others - in this case, Utah Highway Patrol officers.

The mere existence of a religious symbol in a public place need not trigger a constitutional crisis.  The Supreme Court recently noted that the Constitution does not prohibit, but rather accommodates such symbols.

In our amicus brief filed with the high court backing a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari, we contend the Utah crosses are constitutional and reflect what the high court decided in April 2010. 

As you may recall, in the case of Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, et al., v. Buono, (08-472), the Supreme Court ruled that a World War I memorial in California’s Mojave Desert that features a memorial cross can remain in place.  A plurality opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy observed:  "A cross by the side of a public highway marking, for instance, the place where a state trooper perished need not be taken as a statement of governmental support for sectarian beliefs. 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."

You can read our legal arguments in our amicus brief posted here.

While it's true that high court doesn't take many new cases, we're hopeful they take this one.

The case is Davenport v. American Atheists (No. 10-1297) and we'll let you know if the Supreme Court takes the case.

 

Reason for Celebration

By Carly F. Gammill1428002231625

We live in a world torn by struggles in which some factions seek power, while others long desperately for peace. This picture of the modern era may appear new because of the weapons used to wage the wars, but it is a condition that has been familiar to men and women for virtually all of human...

read more

Bergdahl & Our Leaders’ Lost Honor

By David French1427467158649

Desertion is a very old story in the history of armies and armed conflict. Soldiers deserted from the Continental Army, from the Union Army, from the American armies in World War I and World War II — yet those armies fought on, fought well, and prevailed. An army can survive desertion, so to hear...

read more

Purple Hearts for Fort Hood Victims

By Jay Sekulow1423243672347

At last, a victory for common sense and fairness. According to Fox News , next week the Army will announce that the victims of Nidal Hasan’s Fort Hood terrorist attack will receive purple hearts. Previously, the Obama Administration had labeled Hasan’s attack an act of “workplace violence,” despite...

read more

American Sniper Has Created a Cultural Moment: Here’s Why

By David French1421694905032

At 9:30 p.m. on Saturday night, a packed theater in Franklin, Tenn., was completely quiet. As the credits rolled, some folks were filing out, but many more were standing, still looking at the screen, honoring the man whose life they’d just seen portrayed on the silver screen. Before the movie, I’d...

read more