Fighting Fire With Fire

by Shannen W. Coffin

In response to a recent lawsuit challenging the public display of the Ten Commandments in a park in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, the City of LaCrosse sold a portion of the park and the monument containing the Commandments back to the organization that donated it to the city — the Order of the Eagles. In a decision issued today, a divided panel of the Seventh Circuit held that the sale of the monument and the 440 square foot portion of the park in which it was located to the Order of the Eagles does not violate the First Amendment Establishment Clause.

The opinion, written by Judge Manion (one of my personal heroes for a dissent he wrote in a case I argued — and lost — last year), holds that even if the original installation of the monument (which was erected in honor of those who saved the city from a flood) violated the constitution, the sale of the land cured the supposed violation. So here’s the obvious solution to the problem — privatization of public land! (Hat Tip: How Appealing).

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