Seven out of nine Supreme Court Justices rule that the Bladensburg Peace Cross in Prince George County, Maryland should remain standing. The majority opinion acknowledges that the memorial’s age makes it a part of the community. Learn more at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.
It may have been a long time coming, but the freedom First Liberty Institute secured in The American Legion v. AHA is significant.
You will recall that at issue in the case was the Peace Cross, a World War I monument Gold Star Mothers erected to remember 49 sons of Prince George’s County, Maryland who died in the Great War. That idea came in 1919 and The American Legion dedicated it in 1925.
Everything was fine until 2013 when someone decided they were offended at the presence of a cross on public property, ignoring the surrounding memorials to other wars in what is known as Memorial Park.
In June of 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decision. Seven of the nine Justices wrote an opinion, making the decision somewhat difficult to decipher. But the clear majority of seven Justices ruled that the memorial should stay right where it is.
The majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, explained the fact that the memorial bears religious symbolism does not mean the memorial must be destroyed or moved to private property. That is all the more true when memorials age and become a central part of the community itself. “The passage of time,” Justice Alito wrote, “gives rise to a strong presumption of constitutionality.”
In our next episode, we will explore what this “strong presumption of constitutionality” means today.
To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.