November 11, 2008

If the city puts up a donated 10 Commandments monument, must it put up every other donated monument lest it violate Free Speech?

SCOTUSblog previews tomorrow's oral argument in Pleasant Grove City, et al., v. Summum.
Will the Justices’ vision be fogged by a cloud of potential horribles? The Solicitor General’s brief well illustrates this argument: “Under the decision below, a city’s display of a privately donated monument to Abraham Lincoln could entitle an individual to insist that the city permit the erection of a monument to Jefferson Davis, or a group could insist that the presence of the memorial in [Pleasant Grove’s] Pioneer Park commemorating the September 11 attacks entitles it to erect a memorial to the terrorists who carried them out.”

9 comments:

Oligonicella said...

"or a group could insist that the presence of the memorial in [Pleasant Grove’s] Pioneer Park commemorating the September 11 attacks entitles it to erect a memorial to the terrorists who carried them out.”"

That is about the most strained piece of logic I've heard.

UWS guy said...

I don't think there's anything any the constitution about the establishment of "favorite president"...

trogdor said...

Granted, it's difficult to draw the line at what is and is not a "religion," but it's not quite THAT difficult...

Seven Machos said...

I don't understand how speech by the government infringes on speech of others, especially in this case. Groups are free to put up what they want on their own land if the government doesn't want to put up their monuments.

American Liberal Elite said...

"Granted, it's difficult to draw the line at what is and is not a "religion," but it's not quite THAT difficult..."

If Scientology is a religion, I can't think why Summum wouldn't be.

MadisonMan said...

I thought we were boycotting Utah.

jimbino said...

This case is about free speech, not establishment of religion. However it comes out, it is an illustration of how poorly government serves the people, whether in public education, delivery of the mail or management of parks.

When government manages a park, minorities and their views are ALWAYS underrepresented, as witnessed by the fact that you will almost NEVER see a black or brown face at any of the National Parks and Forests, from Chaco Canyon to Yellowstone.

Disney World, being private, serves minorities of all types from all over the world.

The solution, of course, is to privatize all those things now under public administration. Obama, unfortunately, wants to go exactly the opposite way, and it appears Detroit and the health industry may soon end up serving the public as well as the public schools and public parks do.

former law student said...

Applying my theory that religious nonsense is respectable only in proportion to its age, I declare that Summum is neither "deeply embedded in the history and tradition of this country" nor is it "deeply rooted in the fabric of our society." So the monument is out. Religions no one has heard of do not get much play.

As a compromise, I propose that Summum put its monument on wheels. Then the municipality could let them park it there every day, on condition they remove it at park closing time.

Joe said...

The real irritating part about this as a resident of Pleasant Grove, is that Summum picked Pleasant Grove to pick a fight, not because they actually have any presence in the city. (Besides, the park in question isn't that big and having every Tom, Dick and Harry being able to insist their monument is placed there would pretty much eliminate the park all together. On the other hand, it's a real shitty park so maybe the monuments would be an improvement.)