Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled that a 40-foot concrete cross maintained by the Maryland public may remain on state land.
Via press release from hate group leader Tony Perkins:
As grateful as we are for the victory, there are many — FRC included — who were hoping the justices would take the opportunity to overhaul the mess our courts have made of the Establishment Clause. Protecting war memorials is important, but these issues will continue to bubble up if the Supreme Court doesn’t scrap the “Lemon test” that’s driven the attacks on other faith-based monuments and displays. Justice Thomas was certainly more than ready to.
“Nearly half a century after Lemon,” Thomas writes, “and, the truth is, no one has any idea about the answers to these questions. As the plurality documents, our ‘doctrine [is] in such chaos’ that lower courts have been ‘free to reach almost any result in almost any case.’ Scores of judges have pleaded with us to retire Lemon, scholars of all stripes have criticized the doctrine, and a majority of this Court has long done the same. Today, not a single Member of the Court even tries to defend Lemon against these criticisms — and they don’t because they can’t. It is our job to say what the law is, and because the Lemon test is not good law, we ought to say so.”
As we explained in FRC’s amicus brief, religion has a natural, proper, and even essential role in our public life and the life of our military. We’re grateful for the result the Supreme Court delivered today — but we’ll continue to push the court to correct the confusion that’s been used to scrub religious messages, signs, and symbols from public life.
The Lemon Test comes from the 1971 Supreme Court ruling in Lemon v. Kurtzman, which held that laws must “neither advance nor inhibit religion” and must have a secular purpose.