Split Supreme Court keeps the VFW’s cross standing in the Mojave

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Apr 28, 2010 Split Supreme Court keeps the VFW’s cross standing in the Mojave


Bill of Rights (From public domain.)

Merely because the Supreme Court’s right wing votes in the majority, I do not automatically oppose the opinion or the result. I sided with the rightwingers who gave some teeth to the Second Amendment in Heller, and expect I will agree with the majority outcome by the rightwingers in Citizens United v. FEC once I get around to reading the whole opinion. Let us also remember that one of the justices, Scalia, whom I have wished off the bench since the 1980’s still brought us the marvelous Melendez-Diaz opinion which followed his marvelous Crawford opinion.

Today we have the rightwingers plus Justice Kennedy, by now a swing vote on so many civil liberties issues, striking down the Ninth Circuit’s injunction against the federal government’s cynical swap of federal park land to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, to try to say that their decades-old cross honoring World War I-dead is on private property and thus exempt from the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. Salazar v. Buono, ___ U.S. ___ (April 28, 2010).

The composition of the Supreme Court’s voters cannot determine whether I agree with an opinion from the Court. I will read the opinion first, not only for its First Amendment discussion — including tensions between the Establishment Clause and the First Amendment’s free speech clause — but also for its discussion about circumstances that permit courts to revisit whether to keep permanent injunctions permanent, and about standing to sue the government for alleged civil liberties violations that are not targeted specifically at the suing party.

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