The Supreme Court Case That Could Bring Down the Wall of Separation Between Church and State

Nov 13, 2018

By Andrew L. Seidel

In the wake of the dumpster fire that was Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, there was speculation in legal circles that the U.S. Supreme Court would lay low: It would avoid taking on controversial cases or overturning long-standing precedent.

But the Court’s action earlier this month suggests that patience, restraint, and avoiding hot-button issues are not going to be its new watchwords.

On November 2, on the eve of the first Shabbat since the anti-Semitic massacre in Pittsburgh, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal to a decision striking down a 40-foot cross World War I memorial in Bladensburg, Maryland. The American Humanist Association (AHA) challenged the cross’ presence on government land, and the Fourth Circuit had ordered its removal. The Supreme Court often—though by no means always—overturns cases it agrees to hear. AHA has to win over at least one conservative justice, so many fear that the Court will allow the cross to stand.

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