Comparison Case: Church and State

The cross in question.

A Cross in a Public Space?

Nina Totenberg reported on this First Amendment controversy that came before the Supreme Court. It involves a large cross as a memorial to WW I dead, but it sits on public land and is partially funded by public dollars. The American Humanist Association brought suit and the American Legion oversees the cross, thus the case name: American Legion v. American Humanist Assn.  Listen to the story and consider the issues and then answer the questions below.


Audio and printed story available from this NPR broadcast.

1. What is the backstory on this case, what are the facts?

2. Who/what government actor may have violated the Constitution?

3. Who do you think will or should win this case and why?

Now that you’ve considered the case and predicted the outcome, let’s see how the Court actually ruled. 


Link to NPR


4. Which side won the case and what was the vote?

5. What does this ruling mean? What did the lawyer mean when he emphasized it was a “narrow” ruling?

6. Do you think the Court made the right call or not? Why? 


Photo/Image: “World War I Memorial, Bladensburg, Maryland” by Ben Jacobson (Kranar Drogin) via Creative Commons