Skip to comments.Clarence Thomas Says Religious Display Rulings Are in 'Shambles'
Posted on 11/08/2011 9:06:56 AM PST by marshmallow
Washington D.C., Nov 8, 2011 / 02:56 am (CNA).- Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas denounced his colleagues decision not to hear a case that would have allowed them to establish a clear standard for judging religious displays on government property.
Today the Court rejects an opportunity to provide clarity to an Establishment Clause jurisprudence in shambles, Thomas said in an Oct. 31 dissent.
He explained that the Supreme Courts disjointed jurisprudence has confounded the lower courts and rendered the constitutionality of displays of religious imagery on government property anyones guess. Thomas dissenting opinion responded to the courts decision to reject consideration of a prohibition on crosses placed along the roadside in Utah to commemorate fallen officers.
The case involved 12-foot-high white crosses placed by the Utah Highway Patrol Association at or near areas where officers had been killed in the line of duty.
American Atheists, Inc. sued Utah officials, claiming that the 13 crosses violated the establishment clause because they bore the symbol of the Utah Highway Patrol and many of them were located on state property.
In August, a Tenth Circuit court ruled that the crosses were unconstitutional.
The Utah Highway Patrol Association appealed to the Supreme Court, but in an Oct. 31 decision, the court declined to hear the case.
In his dissent, Thomas criticized the Supreme Courts failure to implement a clear, workable standard for establishment clause cases.
He explained that the lack of a clear standard has resulted in arbitrary decisions and wildly divergent outcomes.
In April 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that a seven-foot cross erected by the Veterans of Foreign Wars would be allowed to remain on the property.
In Jan. 2011, a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 29-foot Mount Soledad Memorial Cross in a San Diego public park violated the establishment clause. Supporters of the cross are appealing to the Supreme Court.
Since the inception of the endorsement test, we have learned that a creche displayed on government property violates the Establishment Clause, except when it doesn't, Thomas said.
Likewise, a menorah displayed on government property violates the Establishment Clause, except when it doesn't.
A display of the Ten Commandments on government property also violates the Establishment Clause, except when it doesn't, he added.
Finally, a cross displayed on government property violates the Establishment Clause, as the Tenth Circuit held here, except when it doesn't.
Thomas criticized the court for causing confusion by using different tests to evaluate cases rather than establishing a clear standard.
He said that because the Supreme Courts precedents in establishment clause cases remain impenetrable, the rulings of lower courts also remain incapable of coherent explanation.
Thomas called on his fellow justices to clarify the confusion surrounding religious display cases in recent years.
We should not now abdicate our responsibility to clean up our mess, he said.
Tell that to all the idiots that told me I had to hold my nose and vote for W. in order to keep the SC stacked with conservatives.
Or the idiots that told me I had to hold my nose and vote for McCain.
Or the idiots who will tell us both to vote for Romney if the high tech lynching of Cain succeeds.
What Justice Thomas said!
FReepmail me to subscribe to or unsubscribe from the SCOTUS ping list.
Justice Thomas is a national treasure.
Off topic: Why do juries not sit in judgment of Constitutional questions at the district and appellate court levels?
It is the judiciary's role to interpret the Constitution not the People's. Juries are guaranteed by the Constitution only for criminal and civil trials. Appellate cases are not trials and therefore require no jury. While there are juries for district court cases, it is the judge's responsibility to instruct the jury on the law before the jury deliberates. Therefore a jury cannot judge a Constitutional question. They must defer to the judge's instruction on the law.
IANAL, so I am pinging a FRiend who is and often clarifies the law for me. If I've said anything ridiculous, he'll tell us.
P.S. The People’s right to “interpret” the Constitution is implemented by amending it to their satisfaction should they disagree with the judiciary’s interpretation. Congress (the People’s representatives) makes law. They do not enforce or interpret it.
I don’t think I’ll be voting for Romney, but I did vote for McCain/Palin and part of my reasoning was absolutely to preserve the conservative edge on the SCOTUS. The SCOTUS is not irrelevant, not even close!
Obama has appointed two extreme liberals who will influence our law for decades. If he’s re-elected, it’s likely Ginsburg retires. That makes three appointments for him. It’s literally sickening to consider. And Heaven forbid Kennedy retires. If he does and Obama gets to appoint his replacement, we are screwed for decades.
Idiots? You have to be kidding.
Bush gave us Roberts and Alito.
Obama gave us Sortamywhore and Mr. Kagan.
You are damn right it is better to hold your nose and not see SCOTUS stacked with communists.
**The case involved 12-foot-high white crosses placed by the Utah Highway Patrol Association at or near areas where officers had been killed in the line of duty.**
Is this really what it is about?
*8We should not now abdicate our responsibility to clean up our mess, he said.**
And while all of this is going on Sharia religious law is being implemented in the USA.
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