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High court says Mojave cross in Calif. can remain


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High court says Mojave cross in Calif. can remain

AP

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court said Wednesday that a federal court went too far in ordering the removal of a congressionally endorsed war memorial cross from its longtime home in California.

In ruling that the cross could stay, the justices said federal judges in California did not take sufficient notice of the government's decision to transfer the land in a remote area of California to private ownership. The move was designed to eliminate any constitutional concern about a religious symbol on public land.

The ruling was 5-4, with the court's conservatives in the majority.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars erected the cross more than 75 years ago atop an outcropping in the Mojave National Preserve.

It has been covered with plywood for the past several years following the court rulings. Court papers describe the cross as 5 feet to 8 feet tall.

"Here one Latin cross in the desert evokes far more than religion. It evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles, battles whose tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.

Full opinion here:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-472.pdf

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High court says Mojave cross in Calif. can remain

AP

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court said Wednesday that a federal court went too far in ordering the removal of a congressionally endorsed war memorial cross from its longtime home in California.

In ruling that the cross could stay, the justices said federal judges in California did not take sufficient notice of the government's decision to transfer the land in a remote area of California to private ownership. The move was designed to eliminate any constitutional concern about a religious symbol on public land.

The ruling was 5-4, with the court's conservatives in the majority.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars erected the cross more than 75 years ago atop an outcropping in the Mojave National Preserve.

It has been covered with plywood for the past several years following the court rulings. Court papers describe the cross as 5 feet to 8 feet tall.

"Here one Latin cross in the desert evokes far more than religion. It evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles, battles whose tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.

Full opinion here:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-472.pdf

What do you think of the opinion, Counselor?

[And I'm using "Counselor" in the literal sense, not technical use incorporated by Judges to communicate "You are embarrassing yourself and should sit down immediately."]

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What do you think of the opinion, Counselor?

[And I'm using "Counselor" in the literal sense, not technical use incorporated by Judges to communicate "You are embarrassing yourself and should sit down immediately."]

Well, I am embarrassing myself and I should sit down immediately.

But that's another point.

I believe I agree with Justice Roberts, whose opinion was so brief and to the point I can recount it here in its entirety:

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS, concurring.

At oral argument, respondent’s counsel stated that it “likely would be consistent with the injunction” for the Government to tear down the cross, sell the land to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and return the cross to them,with the VFW immediately raising the cross again. Tr. of Oral Arg. 44. I do not see how it can make a difference for the Government to skip that empty ritual and do what Congress told it to do—sell the land with the cross on it. “The Constitution deals with substance, not shadows.” Cummings v. Missouri, 4 Wall. 277, 325 (1867).

Which is to say the petitioner/respondent Buono is acting like a complete and utter jack***. If the intent was to get the cross off of federal land, that intent is accomplished by the law in question (and as the opinion, but not the article makes clear, it is ONLY a land transfer statute passed by Congress to sell the land on which the cross stands that is at issue in this case -- in other words, the Court did NOT say the cross could remain on federal land). Trying to force them to remove it and then sell the land is spiteful, and that is being charitable.

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Let's be real. If it was a muslim symbol or a hindu symbol it would have been declared unconstitutional. Just like only christian holidays are national holidays, we have slowly allowed the government to establish christianity as the national religion in direct violation of the constitution.

The cross was declared unconstitutional on federal land, so I'm not sure what your point is.

I vehemently disagree that Christianity is "the national religion" in this country. If there is one (and I think I'd argue that there is), it is the national civil religion. The foremost practitioner of this religion that comes to mind immediately is Oprah Winfrey.

But her religion is not Christianity. It is a pantheistic "everyone agrees with each other" nonsense religion. It is also not manifestly the national religion, but unfortunately it is de facto the national religion.

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The cross was declared unconstitutional on federal land, so I'm not sure what your point is.

I vehemently disagree that Christianity is "the national religion" in this country. If there is one (and I think I'd argue that there is), it is the national civil religion. The foremost practitioner of this religion that comes to mind immediately is Oprah Winfrey.

But her religion is not Christianity. It is a pantheistic "everyone agrees with each other" nonsense religion. It is also not manifestly the national religion, but unfortunately it is de facto the national religion.

Perhaps I jumped the gun. I'm using my phone so I only read the thread title. Someone give me a rundown on what really happened

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I do not know the entire story, I am taking this out of context, so correct me if I am wrong.

This guy, Buono, wanted a cross removed from federal land. So, the federal government transferred the land to the VFW. However, Buono, is still not happy because he wanted that particular cross torn down even if the land is no longer under the federal governments control.

Is he saying that the cross should have been removed before the land was transferred?

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I do not know the entire story, I am taking this out of context, so correct me if I am wrong.

This guy, Buono, wanted a cross removed from federal land. So, the federal government transferred the land to the VFW. However, Buono, is still not happy because he wanted that particular cross torn down even if the land is no longer under the federal governments control.

Is he saying that the cross should have been removed before the land was transferred?

It was sneaky. They tried to give the land to a non government entity, but refused to allow a buddist shrine or a muslim symbol to be erected next to it to honor non christian military members.

Edited by Lord Dark Helmet
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I do not know the entire story, I am taking this out of context, so correct me if I am wrong.

This guy, Buono, wanted a cross removed from federal land. So, the federal government transferred the land to the VFW. However, Buono, is still not happy because he wanted that particular cross torn down even if the land is no longer under the federal governments control.

Is he saying that the cross should have been removed before the land was transferred?

He is saying the cross should be removed, and then the feds can do whatever they want with it, but he doesn't want them to sell the land with the cross on it.

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It was sneaky. They tried to give the land to a non government entity, but refused to allow a buddist shrine or a muslim symbol to be erected next to it to honor non christian military members.

Link? I'm pretty sure no one asked to put a buddhist shrine or muslim symbol on this parcel of land. The only issue before the Court was removing the cross.

I agree it was sneaky -- on Buono's part.

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It was in the article I just read on cnn. The government said only the cross could be there.

I couldn't find the article, I assume you are being honest though. That does seem a little crooked.

Buono: I would like to put the Star of David next to the cross to honor all the Jewish soldiers.

Federal Governemt: Nah, we will just give the land to someone else to avoid you getting to do that.

The decision was only 5-4, so it's not clear cut it doesn't seem.

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It was in the article I just read on cnn. The government said only the cross could be there.

Just read it. It said "officials" refused such a request but in contex that could have meant VFW officials (that's who they were talking about in that sentence). In any event that question was not apparently before the Court.

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I couldn't find the article, I assume you are being honest though. That does seem a little crooked.

Buono: I would like to put the Star of David next to the cross to honor all the Jewish soldiers.

Federal Governemt: Nah, we will just give the land to someone else to avoid you getting to do that.

The decision was only 5-4, so it's not clear cut it doesn't seem.

Why is it being sold to the VFW? Was the land available for public sale?

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I couldn't find the article, I assume you are being honest though. That does seem a little crooked.

Buono: I would like to put the Star of David next to the cross to honor all the Jewish soldiers.

Federal Governemt: Nah, we will just give the land to someone else to avoid you getting to do that.

The decision was only 5-4, so it's not clear cut it doesn't seem.

Buono didn't ask -- pretty sure he's an atheist.

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Why does it have to be available for public sale? Are all land transactions authorized by Congress first offered for public sale?

If the backdoor intent of the federal government was to keep the cross up then I think we can question why this land wasn't offered to anyone else, ie the highest bidder.

I would think, if I were trying to be fair, the best thing to do would be to offer some or all of the land for sale to the highest bidder. Or, just not sold it at all and removed the religious symbol from government land.

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If the backdoor intent of the federal government was to keep the cross up then I think we can question why this land wasn't offered to anyone else, ie the highest bidder.

I would think, if I were trying to be fair, the best thing to do would be to offer some or all of the land for sale to the highest bidder. Or, just not sold it at all and removed the religious symbol from government land.

There were only two parties before the Court - Buono and the government. Unless Buono wanted to buy the land and was refused, the public sale issue is irrelevant. He didn't sue to force the government to sell the land to him. He only wanted to block the sale to the VFW.

BTW, Alito's commentary on the Congressional votes and the Administration's agreement with the sale seems pertinent here. Basicaly you have 4 justices wanting a different result than essentially the entirety of the other two branches of government, and the elected branches at that.

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It was sneaky. They tried to give the land to a non government entity, but refused to allow a buddist shrine or a muslim symbol to be erected next to it to honor non christian military members.

These cases are really inconsistent. In County of Allegheny v. ACLU, the Court held that a creche(scene depicting the nativity scene, usually along with other secular images, but this one did not have other images) displayed outside of a Pittsburgh courthouse was unconstitutional, while a menorah placed outside of another government building, with other secular images next to it, was constitutional.

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G

There were only two parties before the Court - Buono and the government. Unless Buono wanted to buy the land and was refused, the public sale issue is irrelevant. He didn't sue to force the government to sell the land to him. He only wanted to block the sale to the VFW.

BTW, Alito's commentary on the Congressional votes and the Administration's agreement with the sale seems pertinent here. Basicaly you have 4 justices wanting a different result than essentially the entirety of the other two branches of government, and the elected branches at that.

that's a bad argument and you know it. We have the establishment clause for a reason. Just.because a majority of christian politicians and judges want something does not make it lawful. What if things were reversed. Some day muslims or mormans or some other religion might be the majority. Then you might then understand

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G

that's a bad argument and you know it. We have the establishment clause for a reason. Just.because a majority of christian politicians and judges want something does not make it lawful. What if things were reversed. Some day muslims or mormans or some other religion might be the majority. Then you might then understand

Are you suggesting that 95 members of the Senate and all but 14 in the House are Christians?

And worse, that they all voted as they did to advance the Christian religion?

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There were only two parties before the Court - Buono and the government. Unless Buono wanted to buy the land and was refused, the public sale issue is irrelevant. He didn't sue to force the government to sell the land to him. He only wanted to block the sale to the VFW.

BTW, Alito's commentary on the Congressional votes and the Administration's agreement with the sale seems pertinent here. Basicaly you have 4 justices wanting a different result than essentially the entirety of the other two branches of government, and the elected branches at that.

It's not irrelevant. If the government is trying to keep the cross right where it is and sold the land to the VFW to accomplish this, then the government is sponsoring Christianity. (That my not be the exact words I am looking for but it's all I got) Now, if the government offered the land up for public auction and the VFW ended up with it, they could say they didn't have any control over who purchased the land.

It is kind of a chichen sh*t thing to do, selling the land. They should have confronted the issue instead of transferring ownership.

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