Supreme Court Makes Big Announcement On Christian Flag Case


OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion


Arguments will take place in front of the U.S. Supreme Court concerning whether a Christian flag should fly outside Boston’s City Hall.

Boston argues that allowing a Christian flag to fly on one of its flagpoles is equivalent to the government sanctioning religion.

Harold Shurtleff’s lawyers pointed out that, in the 12 years prior to his request, none of the city’s other 284 proposals had been denied.

“‘The flagpole that stands prominently at the city’s seat of government is the means by which the city communicates its own messages,’ Boston’s lawyers told the Supreme Court. The city uses it as a bully pulpit and has not turned it over ‘to private parties as a forum to pronounce their own messages,’” WPSD 6 reported when it was first learned that SCOTUS would hear the case.

According to the normally left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union, the flag should not be banned.

“When the government opens its public property for private speakers, it has to treat everybody equally,” ACLU national legal director David Cole said. “This case is really about private citizens’ access to government property to express themselves. And that access is critical to our ability to speak to each other, to express our views and the like.”

In contrast, the Anti-Defamation League supported the city.

“The value to such groups of the ‘photo op’ of a Nazi flag, the Confederate flag, or some other white supremacist banner flying over Boston City Hall should not be underestimated,” the group stated.

Shurtleff made his request on behalf of Camp Constitution, which he founded and whose aim is “to enhance understanding of the country’s Judeo-Christian heritage.”

“It’s a public access flagpole,” Shurtleff told ABC News.

“It’s kind of ludicrous to think flying a flag on a flagpole for maybe an hour or two will somehow get people to think, ‘Oh my goodness, look at the city of Boston now endorsing the Protestant or the Christian faith.”

“The city, for its own speech, does not want to get into the issue of religion,” Doug Hallward-Driemeier, who is representing Boston in the case, told the press. “It’s said that it didn’t want to fly a flag that was offered as ‘the Christian flag,’ because that wasn’t the message that the city itself wanted to communicate.”

“I don’t know of any white nationalists carrying Christian flags. That may have happened, but I don’t know. But this flag certainly represents Christianity and was designed by a couple of Sunday school teachers. Not exactly white supremacists,” Shurtleff responded.

“We’re optimistic that they will rule in our favor and that we will be allowed to raise the flag, although I understand the city will most likely cancel its flag-raising events. So we’ll see what happens,” he concluded.

Earlier this year the Supreme Court announced that it would hear the case of a former football coach in Seattle. The former coach was fired from his job for praying on the field.

After learning that Joe Kennedy was praying with the team, administrators told him he could pray separately from the students. In response to Kennedy’s refusal to change his practice, he was put on paid leave and sued.

In the lower courts, the school district won. This case now stands in front of the nation’s highest court.

When the Boston case is heard, Ketanji Brown Jackson now an associate justice-designate of the Supreme Court since she was confirmed by the Senate, will be one of the justices who decide the case.

Republican senators, the vast majority of whom voted against her confirmation, voiced their opposition to Jackson.

Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell addressing the Senate said “After studying the nominee’s record and watching her performance this week, I cannot and will not support Judge Jackson for a lifetime appointment to our highest Court.

First, Judge Jackson refuses to reject the fringe position that Democrats should try to pack the Supreme Court. Justices Ginsburg and Breyer had no problem denouncing this unpopular view and defending their institution. I assumed this would be an easy softball for Judge Jackson. But it wasn’t.”

McConnell continued, “The nominee suggested there are two legitimate sides to the issue. She testified that she has a view on the matter but would not share it.

She inaccurately compared her non-answer to a different, narrower question that a prior nominee was asked. But Judge Jackson seemingly tipped her hand. She said she would be, ‘thrilled to be one of however many.’ The opposite of the Ginsburg and Breyer sentiment.

The most radical pro-court-packing fringe groups badly wanted this nominee for this vacancy. Judge Jackson was the court-packers’ pick. And she testified like it.”

His concern also extended to her stance on illegal immigration and other areas where she seemed soft on crime.

“This is one area where Judge Jackson’s trial court records provide a wealth of information. And it is troubling. The Judge regularly gave certain terrible kinds of criminals light sentences that were beneath the sentencing guidelines and beneath the prosecutors’ requests.”

It would seem the Boston case would go the way of the plaintiff as there are 6 conservative justices vs 3 liberals, but a few in the majority have voted with the other side in a few cases so we really have no idea which way this could go.

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