U.S. Supreme Court votes 9-0 on First Amendment interpretation

Based on a rare 9-0 vote the US Supreme Court just overturned the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding placement of permanent monuments in a city park. This debate addresses more than placement of the Ten Commandments or Christmas Displays. It would also impact war memorials as stated in the article which follows Justice Alito’s opinion of the Court on this landmark First Amendment ruling where he states:

“this case presents the question whether the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment entitles a private group to insist that a municipality permit it to place a permanent monument in a city park in which other donated monuments were previously erected. The Court of Appeals held that the municipality was required to accept the monument because a public park is a traditional public forum. We conclude, however, that although a park is a traditional public forum for speeches and other transitory expressive acts, the display of a permanent monument in a public park is a not a form of expression to which forum analysis applies. Instead, the placement of a permanent monument in a public park is best viewed as a form of government speech and is therefore not subject to scrutiny under the Free Speech Clause.” Justice Alito goes on to say:  ”In sum, we hold that the City’s decision to accept certain privately donated monuments while rejecting respondent’s is best viewed as a form of government speech.  As a result, the City’s decision is not subject to the Free Speech Clause, and the Court of Appeals erred in holding otherwise.  We therefore reverse.”
The following update is from www.saveourmemorials.com.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, The Supreme Court announced its ruling in Pleasant Grove, Utah v. Summum which says that the presence of a donated monument does not require the acceptance of all donated monuments. The ruling, which reverses the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling, works in favor of veterans’ memorials nationwide, since many are donated and would have been threatened by the Tenth Circuit’s ruling. The Court’s majority opinion specifically references the brief filed by Liberty Legal Institute on behalf of the veterans.”The millions of veterans we represent are pleased and see this as a crucial first step in protecting our veterans’ memorials from attacks nationwide,” said Kelly Shackelford, chief counsel of Liberty Legal Institute, which represents the major veterans groups who filed a brief in the case. “These attacks on veterans’ memorials are a disgrace and we are hopeful that the Salazar case, which the Court just granted review, will finally put an end to these sad assaults on our American heritage.”The Supreme Court heard the Summum case on November 12, 2008. Liberty Legal Institute filed an amicus brief on behalf of the largest-ever coalition of veterans, including The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), Non-Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA), American Ex-Prisoners of War (AXPOW), and Veterans of the Vietnam War (VVnW) and the Veterans Coalition.On Monday, The Supreme Court announced its acceptance of the war memorial case Salazar (Interior Secretary) v. Buono, which deals with the 8-foot-tall Mojave Desert Cross. The Ninth Circuit ruled that the memorial to World War I veterans is unconstitutional, and a proposal to transfer the land to the VFW, which erected the cross in 1934, was also ruled unconstitutional by the court.

Gilbert comment. It might be a stretch but we have a situation referenced above where a minority group failed in their attempt to impose its interpretation of First Amendment rights on placement of monuments in city parks. Concurrently a lower level CA court is addressing the thought of overturning the vote of a majority,  aka  Prop 8. Article II, Section 2, of the CA Constitution states that a “United States citizen 18 years of age and resident in this state may vote.”  Article XVIII, Section 4, of the CA Constitution reads “A proposed amendmend or revision shall be submitted to the electors and if approved by a majority of votes thereon takes effect the day after the election unless a measure provides otherwise. If provisions of two or more measures approved at the same election conflict, those of the measure receiving the highest affirmative vote shall prevail.

With respect to Prop 8 we did prevail and that vote should not be overturned by any court of the land unless someone can provide evidence of voter fraud.

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