City’s Nativity Scene Is Constitutional

1984

In Lynch v. Donnelly, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that a city’s Christmas display, which includes a nativity scene, does not violate the establishment clause because it also features non-religious decorations, such as a Santa Claus house. The Court concludes that the purpose of the display in Pawtucket, R.I., is secular, to celebrate the holiday generally and to depict its historical roots. The symbols pose no danger of establishing a state church, the Court finds.