Mojave Cross: The Fight Goes On

Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling in the case Salazar vs. Buono — concerning a cross in the Mojave National Preserve that has been designated as a national memorial — wasn’t quite what we were hoping for, but was also encouraging in some respects. The question of whether or not the government’s sale of the land on which the cross sits to a private veterans’ organization remedies a violation of the Establishment Clause has been sent back to district court. The Supreme Court found that the lower court used the wrong legal standard in deciding to invalidate a transfer of the land on which the cross stands to private ownership. But the opinion does leave the door open to reaching a favorable outcome in the case, and, more importantly, does not preclude private citizens from challenging the constitutionality of religious displays on government property in the future.

The case, Salazar v. Buono, stems from a complaint raised by veteran and former National Park Service employee Frank Buono, who claimed that the presence of an overtly religious symbol on federal land represented unconstitutional favoritism toward a specific religion.

In 2002, while the federal district court case was pending, Congress designated the cross as a national memorial. In an apparent attempt to circumvent the Establishment Clause violation, Congress also transferred one acre of land on which the cross stands to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, with the provision that the VFW continue to maintain it as a war memorial.

The ACLU, which represented Buono in the case, will continue to argue that the transfer does not remedy the government’s unconstitutional endorsement of one particular religion. “The cross is unquestionably a sectarian symbol,” said the ACLU of Southern California’s Peter Eliasberg, who argued the case before the Court, “and we respectfully but strongly disagree with the suggestion by some members of the Court that the cross does not favor one religion.”

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Anonymous

ACLU is the downfall of the USA

Anonymous

ACLU = American Communist League of the Unalienable

Maggie

If the land was being sold to a private owner why go through with this case. This was apparently put up a long time ago. Money wasted.

Anonymous

Chillax people, there are worse people than the ACLU

Anonymous

ACLU NEEDS TO BE SUED FOR TAKING OUR FEEDOM AWY

Moi

Once again the right wingers show that they know about as much about Communism as a dog knows about algebra.

roald

I hope that you are successful in stopping the end run around our Constitution. My membership renewal went into the mail this morning.

Arnold J. Rimmer

Hey, #1 & #2 - if you don't agree with the upholding of the US Constitution, leave!

Anonymous

1.Anonymous Says:
Apr 29th, 2010 at 6:32pm

ACLU is the downfall of the USA

2.Anonymous Says:
Apr 29th, 2010 at 7:49pm

ACLU = American Communist League of the Unalienable

3. ACLU is an embarrASSment to the USA!

Anonymous

There really are only two possibilities for someone who claims that the Christian cross is not a religious symbol—that person is not mentally competent, or that person is lying.

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