Saturday, April 20, 2019

(JNS) The U.S. Supreme Court agreed last week to hear a case that could have ramifications for the American Jewish community.

The highest court in the land agreed to hear arguments in Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission v. American Humanist Association regarding whether a 93-year-old cross-shaped memorial dedicated to local American troops who perished in World War I “located on a Maryland highway median violates the Constitution’s required separation of church and state, a case that could impact hundreds of similar monuments nationwide,” according to the Associated Press.

In October 2017, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the monument is unconstitutional because it “excessively entangles” church and state.

The Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty filed a brief in July in support of the plaintiffs, who argue that the memorial’s symbolism conveys a non-religious message of remembrance. The brief argues that the appeals court decision is a “misuse” of Lemon v. Kurtzman over “passive displays.” JCRL asked the court to overturn Lemon. Were that to happen, it could affect numerous issues relevant to the Jewish community.