The Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that a small religious group cannot force a city in Utah to place a granite marker in a local park. The park in Pleasant Grove Utah already contains a Ten Commandments display. Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote the opinion.
Alito rejected the argument that this was a free speech matter. He stressed the placement of a permanent marker is strikingly different from prohibiting speech in a park.
Such a monument would constitute “government speech,” conveying a message that it wishes to get out about “esthetics, history, and local culture.” Four Justices filed concurring opinions.
A religious sect, the Summum, argued that its free speech rights were violated when the city of Pleasant Grove City, Utah., when the city accepted a Ten Commandments monument in its pubic park but refused to accept a monument displaying tenets of the Summum faith. The “Seven Aphorisms” of that faith represent what believers view as the contents of the original tablets handed down by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. For an earlier entry, click here.
For a copy of the opinion, click here.
For the oral argument in the case, click here.
The case is Pleasant Grove City, UT v. Summum (07-665).