Humanists Conclude Oral Arguments at the Supreme Court

Humanists Conclude Oral Arguments at the Supreme Court February 27, 2019

From the American Humanist Association:

American Humanist Association Senior Counsel Monica Miller has concluded oral arguments in defense of the First Amendment before the Supreme Court of the United States. Miller argued that the 40-foot-tall Christian cross in the center of a busy intersection in Bladensburg, MD is in violation of the Establishment Clause.

“Today I argued what should be obvious by now: that a colossal Latin cross dedicated by the government as a war memorial for ‘all veterans’ does nothing of the sort,” said Miller. “Rather, the government’s Christian cross war memorial honors Christians to the exclusion of everyone else, sending a callous message that Jews, Muslims, and humanists lack the ‘Courage’ and ‘Valor’ referred to in the inscriptions at the base of the edifice.”

The American Humanist Association filed a complaint against the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in February 2014 challenging the constitutionality of the Christian cross owned, maintained, and funded by taxpayer dollars. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the government’s monolithic Christian cross unconstitutionally endorses Christianity and fosters excessive government entanglement with religion.

In June 2018, the American Legion, an early intervenor, and the Commission separately petitioned the United States Supreme Court to issue a writ of certiorari, hear the case, and overturn the Fourth Circuit’s ruling. The AHA filed oppositions to both petitions, citing over thirty federal cases finding crosses unconstitutional, and highlighting concurring opinions from both Justice Kennedy and Justice Alito.

Today’s arguments highlighted that precedent, and noted that the AHA desires a war memorial that is inclusive of all veterans who have served our country with bravery and dignity.

Read the February 2014 complaint here.

Read the American Humanist Association’s Supreme Court brief here.

Learn more about the case and the American Humanist Association’s efforts to #HonorThemAll here.

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The American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming worldview of humanism, which—without beliefs in gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

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