New-look court’s first separation of church and state case

Does a 2.5-metre-tall cross in California’s Mojave National Preserve violate the first amendment?

The new-look U.S. Supreme Court faces its first separation of church and state case since Sandra Day O’Connor retired. It was O’Connor who cast the fifth and deciding vote against the display of the Ten Commandments in a Kentucky courthouse in 2005. She said such a public display of a religious message violated the 1st Amendment because it amounted to a government endorsement of religion. Now at issue is a cross first erected by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1934 to honour fallen comrades. Lower courts have ruled against it, but Bush administration lawyers appealed to the Supreme Court last fall, saying the “seriously misguided decision” would require the government “to tear down a cross that has stood without incident for 70 years.” Veterans groups argue the ruling, if allowed to stand, could trigger legal challenges to the display of crosses at Arlington National Cemetery.

Los Angeles Times

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.