Pleasant Grove City Vs Summum Analysis

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Pleasant Grove City v. Summum draws upon lesser-known religions not being given the same liberty as more popular religions. Here, a public park had 11 permanent privately donated displays including the Ten Commandments. The Summum religion is a sect of the Christian religion that believes in two versions of the Ten Commandments, the first being destroyed and the second, known as the seven aphorisms are what should rule. They petitioned the city to allow them to place their version of the Ten Commandments at the park. The city refused claiming monuments related to city history could be placed in the park. The Summum’s informed the city their religion was founded in the city in 1975. The city still denied them and the Summum’s brought suit …show more content…
That is what it means to be an equal citizen, irrespective of religion. And that is what the Town of Greece precluded by so identifying itself with a single faith”. It is important to note, neither Pleasant Grove nor Town of Greece were litigated under the religion clauses, at first. At the outset both were brought as cases about free speech. As can be seen at oral arguments the Justices were at first baffled they were not originally about religion. In Pleasant Grove, Chief Justice Roberts warned the Summum attorney, “the more you say the monument is Government speech to get out of the first, free speech-the Free Speech Clause, the more it seems to me you 're walking into a trap under the Establishment Clause”. Remarkably, when the Court issued its unanimous holding for the city, the labeling was candid. The courts opinion stated, “Although a park is a traditional public forum for speeches and other transitory expressive acts, the display of a permanent monument in a public park is not a form of expression to which forum analysis applies. Instead it is best viewed as a form of government speech... not subject to …show more content…
For example, the Court made two different rulings on two identical Ten Commandment cases in the same year. In McCreary County v. ACLU, the Court rejected a display of the commandments in a Kentucky courthouse because it did not have a secular purpose. In Van Orden v. Peny, the Court granted the state of Texas the ability to display the commandments on public capitol grounds because of its importance in U.S. history. In the dissent in McCreary Justice Scalia argued the First Amendment granted the government the ability to erect such monuments as the Ten Commandments wherever the government wished because a majority of the population is monotheistic, and “cannot be reasonably understood as a government endorsement of a particular religious viewpoint”. Scalia continued by stating, “I doubt most religious adherents are even aware there are competing versions with doctrinal consequences (I certainly was not). In any event, the context of the display here could not conceivably cause the viewer to believe the government was taking sides”. Justice Stevens attempted to warn Justice Scalia of his assumptions that all monotheistic people would support one version of the Ten Commandments. Stevens wrote, “There are many distinctive versions of the [Ten Commandments], ascribed to by different religions and even different denominations within a particular

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