Court Allows Memorial Cross To Stay On Public Land

2019

In a separation of church and state case, the U.S. Supreme Court decides, 7-2, that a 40-foot World War I memorial cross can stay on public land at an intersection in Maryland. Justice Samuel Alito writes in the majority opinion in American Legion v. American Humanist Association, that the cross “has become a prominent community landmark” and that it has essentially become secular. The decision reverses a lower-court ruling that said the cross violated the First Amendment’s establishment clause, which prohibits the government from favoring one religion over others, because it is on public land and taxpayers’ money maintains it.