Keeping the Government's Religion Pure: Pleasant Grove City v. Summum
Christopher C. Lund
Wayne State University Law School
May 7, 2009
Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy, Vol. 104, p. 46, 2009
Mississippi College School of Law Research Paper No. 2009-07
This short essay reviews the Supreme Court's recent decision in Pleasant Grove City v. Summum. The case addressed whether Summum, a religious group, had a right under the Free Speech Clause to put up a permanent monument of its Seven Aphorisms - its version of the Ten Commandments - in a local city park, given that the park already contained a number of other objects donated by various groups, including a more orthodox Ten Commandments display donated by the Fraternal Order of Eagles. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected Summum’s claim. This essay explains the background of the case, addresses the legal claims asserted by the parties, and discusses the Court’s opinion and its ramifications. It pays particular attention to the religious dimensions of the case, ones largely not explored by the Court.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 13
Keywords: Free Speech Clause, government speech, public forum, viewpoint discrimination, religion, Establishment Clause, Free Exercise Clause, Summum, Ten Commandments
Date posted: May 8, 2009 ; Last revised: January 29, 2010
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