Salazar v. Buono
Constitutional Law, First Amendment
More than 70 years ago, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) erected a cross as a memorial to fallen service members in a remote area within what is now a federal preserve. After the district court held that the presence of the cross on federal land violated the Establishment Clause and the court permanently enjoined the government from permitting the display of the cross, Congress enacted legislation directing the Department of the Interior to transfer an acre of land including the cross to the VFW in exchange for a parcel of equal value. The district court then permanently enjoined the government from implementing that Act of Congress, and the court of appeals affirmed. The questions presented are:
1. Whether respondent has standing to maintain this action where he has no objection to the public display of a cross, but instead is offended that the public land on which the cross is located is not also an open forum on which other persons might display other symbols.
2. Whether, even assuming respondent has standing, the court of appeals erred in refusing to give effect to the Act of Congress providing for the transfer of the land to private hands.
Office of the Solicitor General
American Civil Liberties Union
Los Angeles, CA
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