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:: A constitutional law blog by Scalia/Thomas fan David M. Wagner, M.A., J.D., Research Fellow, National Legal Foundation, and Teacher, Veritas Preparatory Academy. Opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect those of the NLF or Veritas. :: bloghome | E-mail me ::

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    :: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 ::
    Summa is icumen in: the Court knocks one out of the park!

    Summa decision: A government monument on government space is government speech; it does not turn the space in which it is placed into a "forum" requiring "equal space" for other, conflicting monuments.

    This case was argued, on behalf of the city of Pleasant Grove City, UT, by the American Center for Law and Justice.

    Thus, subject to Establishment Clause restrictions,* governments may set up (e.g.) Ten Commandments monuments, without thereby taking on an obligation to "accept" equally-sized monuments from every sect that may wish to deposit one.

    The opposite result -- devoutly wished by those who dislike public Ten Commandment monuments -- would have led to their "voluntary" removal, as the better alternative to turning public parks into monument dumping-grounds.

    A remarkably consensual outcome, too, though with multiple concurrences.

    *As to those restrictions, Our Hero has something to say in his concurrence (joined by Justice Thomas):
    Even accepting the narrowest reading of the narrowest opinion necessary to the judgment in Van Orden [allowing, against an Establishing Clause challenge, a Ten Commandment monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol], there is little basis to distinguish the monument in this case: Pioneer Park includes “15 permanent displays”; it was donated by the Eagles as part of its national effort to combat juvenile delinquency; and it was erected in 1971, which means it is approaching its (momentous!) 40th anniversary.

    The city can safely exhale. Its residents and visitors can now return to enjoying Pioneer Park’s wishing well, itshistoric granary—and, yes, even its Ten Commandments monument—without fear that they are complicit in an establishment of religion.

    :: David M. Wagner 11:40 AM [+] ::

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