Seven Aphorisms vs. Ten Commandments…Aphorisms lose
February 25, 2009 Leave a comment
Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that local governments are not required to install any and all religious markers in public parks merely because they have other religious monuments displayed there.
In 2003, the religious group calling themselves, Summum, wanted to erect a stone monument in Pioneer Park, a public park located in Pleasant Grove City Utah. This “monument” would depict “the Seven Aphorisms of SUMMUM” and be similar in size and nature to the Ten Commandments monument which is already erected there.
The Summums were denied their request and they brought action against the city, charging that their First Amendment rights had been violated, citing the Free Speech Clause, by accepting the Ten Commandments monument but rejecting their proposed Seven Aphorisms monument. The Summum group sought a preliminary injunction, directing the City to permit them to erect their monument in Pioneer Park.
The U.S. District Court of Utah did not grant them the preliminary injunction. The Summams appealed and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, reversed this lower court’s ruling and ordered Pleasant Grove City to erect Summum’s monument.
The Supreme Court today however, reversed the decision of the Tenth Circuit in their ruling stating that “we hold that the City’s decision to accept certain privately donated monuments while rejecting respondent’s is best viewed as a form of government speech. As a result, the City’s decision is not subject to the Free Speech Clause, and the Court of Appeals erred in holding otherwise.”