Activist Court Stifles Accomodationist Hypocrisy

Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued its much-anticipated decision on petitions for rehearing en banc in two cases involving a request by the Summum religion to erect monuments bearing its “Seven Aphorisms” in public parks in two Utah cities. Summum’s arguments ran along First Amendment/equal access lines. Since the cities in question allowed privately donated Ten Commandments monuments in the parks, “public forum” analysis required that Summum be allowed to put up their monuments as well.

A three-judge panel of the Tenth Circuit agreed earlier this year. Yesterday, the court split 6-6 on whether to grant a rehearing by the full court. Summum v. Pleasant Grove City (PDF, 72 pages). The link includes the order, two dissents and a response from a judge who was on the original panel. The decision means the earlier panel ruling stands.

The cities are represented by the far right wing Thomas More Law Center. Those clowns will move heaven and earth to protect a local government’s “right” to allow Judeo-Christian schlock in public forums, but apparently sees no inconsistency in content-based government discrimination against the schlock of “wacko” religions.

One of the dissents basically boils down to, “Hey, if cities aren’t permitted to engage in content-based discrimination of this sort, public parks will end up stuffed to the gunwales with all manner of loony religious crap.”

No shit, Judge McConnell. Seems you’ve stumbled upon yet another reason for concluding that government endorsement of religion is a bad idea.

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