Veterans Organizations Ask Supreme Court to Save Veterans Memorials

From the Free Market Foundation.

“Today, The American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), the world’s two largest veteran service organizations and a number of other leading veteran’s groups filed an amicus brief defending veteran’s memorials in the case of Pleasant Grove City et al. v Summum (No. 07-665) before the United States Supreme Court.


Petitioners on the brief include The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, The Military Order of the Purple Heart, Inc., The Non-Commissioned Officers Association, Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc., and The Veterans Coalition.


“We are particularly concerned that if the Supreme Court does not overturn the 10th Circuit decision on this case, a precedent could be set that would endanger veteran’s memorials across America,” said Hiram Sasser, Director of Litigation for Liberty Legal Institute, the legal organization representing the veteran’s groups.


The case, Pleasant Grove et al. v Summum arose when the religious group Summum sued the City of Pleasant Grove, Utah for refusing to erect a monument bearing the seven aphorisms of the group in a public park. The organization argued that the City violated its First Amendment Freedoms.


In a dangerous ruling, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Summum, adopting the argument that the presence of any donated monument creates a public forum that then requires the acceptance of any other permanent monument.


“If the 10th Circuit ruling stands, we will either have to tear down The Sphere and Eternal Flame honoring the fallen of September 11, 2001 or erect at ground zero a memorial honoring Al-Qaida and Osama Bin Laden,” said Sasser.


“If the veterans of our country do not prevail in this fight, it will be virtually impossible to honor the very people who defend this country’s freedom,” said Kelly Shackelford, Chief Counsel for Liberty Legal Institute. “This has to end now.”


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