Friday, February 27, 2009

Pleasant Grove City v. Summum

There was a remarkable decision handed down by the Supreme Court the other day, and it hasn't gotten nearly enough attention.

The case was Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, No. 07-665. You can read the background and decision here -- I won't repeat it.

Most amazing is Justice Alito's explanation of the court's decision. Essentially, he says the government has a right of "government speech" and on that basis alone can decide what does and does not appear in government property.

Such a right is completely without precedent and a clear affront to the First Amendment.

Essentially, it says that whatever government wants to establish, it can, regardless of the feelings of anyone else not in the government. It is no less than an excuse for the tyranny of the majority.

Lapdogs Scalia and Thomas concurred (of course).
In a concurring opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, said the decision on Wednesday should foreclose all challenges to the Ten Commandments monument.
This is simply unbelievable to me. It essentially says that the government can choose which religions they will publicize and which they will not. Which they will support (tacitly or not), and which they will not. How can this not be contrary to the honest meaning of the First Amendment?

I am amazed at the degree to which people like Alito will dishonestly twist language to enact their favored weltenschaung.

This decision is a travesty. There ought to be a rally in Salt Lake City, with about 300,000 citizens, who go and dig this Commandment memorial out of the ground.


Anonymous said...

I believe the decision was 9 to 0.

Anonymous said...

The case was not brought up under the establishment clause, so the court is not really considering religious content or motivation (the judges noted that were they considering the monuments' religious natures, some might come to different opinions on whether summum was allowed to put up their thing in the park).

So once the judges came to the conclusion that the monument was government speech, and not the private speech of those who donated the ten commandments monument (which was a very tricky question), their decision was clear.

The government free speech right on government property is important. It's what prevents some kooks from forcing, say, their quack theories into public schools, or putting up their own versions of the declaration of independence at the national archives building in Washington.

Unknown said...

It is sad to see our government and country so ingrained in religion that it affects our laws, which should be unbias in terms of personal belief. Religion should be abolished from the world. Nothing good comes of it. Pathetic.