Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism—October 18

2017—A divided panel of the Fourth Circuit rules (in American Humanist Ass’n v. Maryland-National Capital Park Comm’n) that Maryland officials violated the Establishment Clause by displaying and maintaining on public property—indeed, “in the center of one of the busiest intersections” in the county—the Bladensburg Peace Cross, “a 40-foot tall Latin cross, established in memory of soldiers who died in World War I.”

In 2019, the Supreme Court will reverse the Fourth Circuit by a vote of 7 to 2 (with Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor in dissent). Justice Alito’s majority opinion will set forth a “strong presumption of constitutionality” in favor of “retaining established, religiously expressive monuments, symbols and practices.”

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