Religious Crusaders at the US Supreme Court’s Gates

Religious Crusaders at the Supreme Court’s Gates

Source: New York Times


Conservative justices appear eager to take on a subject at the heart of the country’s culture wars.

The Supreme Court’s decision in last term’s big religion case, on the constitutionality of a Latin cross that stands 40 feet tall on public land in Bladensburg, Md., left both sides in the religion wars unsatisfied. The court’s several opinions, adding up to seven votes to keep the cross in place, disappointed the secularists who brought the lawsuit seeking to have it removed. But the narrow holding, based on the history of this particular monument, was even more frustrating to those who hoped that the court, already tilting noticeably in favor of religion in particular contexts, would go further and adopt new rules for lowering the barrier between church and state across the board.

It seemed to me then that the court was just biding its time. Newly configured with the arrivals of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh and the departure of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court used this case as a warm-up exercise while the justices took one another’s measure on the subject that lies at the very heart of the country’s culture wars. The court would have plenty of opportunity to make its next move.

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