The American Humanist Association has announced that the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the rulings of the district court and court of appeals had concluded that Pensacola’s 34-foot-tall Bayview Park cross violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
The case has been remanded to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to reevaluate the arguments in light of last week’s Bladensburg Cross ruling.
Last night, I reviewed the Supreme Court’s website and found no ruling had been made the city’s case – which I posted this morning. The decision has yet to be posted on the website as of 10 a.m. CDT.
The Pensacola case, Kondrat’yev v. City of Pensacola, concerned the cross in Bayview Park that was erected by the Jaycees in 1969. Prior to the placement of the cross, the city held Easter Services at the park and a wooden cross was a part of the service, according to court documents filed by the Beggs & Lane law firm in 2016.
The first service was in 1941 and was similar to “sunrise services were held at Arlington Cemetery in Washington, at Soldier Field in Chicago, at Fort Benning, Ga., and all across the country.”
David Suhor, one of the plaintiffs in the case, told Inweekly at the time that he believed the cross violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which forbids the government from preferring any one religion over another.
In an email, Suhor wrote, “No reasonable observer (history hidden or not) sees the cross as a war memorial or even a memorial to previous Easter gatherings. Everyone knows the cross is there for one reason – for Easter Sunday and local Christian culture. It is indeed a landmark; it ‘marks’ one of Pensacola’s favorite public parks as Jesus-land. Other than Easter and Jesus-worship, the cross serves no purpose at all. It is certainly not secular.”