Supreme Court to Decide Cross Case

October 13, 2009

Last week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments to decide whether a large cross that has been placed on federal land violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment. The eight foot tall cross is a 75 year old World War I Veteran’s Memorial located on the Mojave National Preserve in California. When a Federal Court ordered the removal of the cross, Congress voted to sell the parcel of land on which it is located to the local VFW. That sale took place back in 2004.
The Obama administration wants the cross to remain exactly where it is. They believe that the plaintiff, Frank Buono, has no standing to complain since he is a christian, and therefore suffers no harm from the presence of the cross. Furthermore, administration officials contend, the land transfer takes care of any First Amendment issues.
Buono took up his case after Buddhists were denied the right to build a shrine near the cross by the National Park Service.

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