Surprise Of The Day: Scalia and ACLU Don’t See Eye-To-Eye

During  today’s U.S. Supreme Court argument about a cross that sits in the middle of nowhere in the Mojave Desert, Justice Antonin Scalia and a lawyer for the ACLU got into a bit of a tussle.
Although the confrontation might not make it onto Justice Samuel Alito’s “Human Sacrifice Channel,” it was still fairly lively.
Scalia and the ACLU of Southern California’s Peter Eliasberg (who was arguing his first case before the court) didn’t agree on whether a cross could, in fact, be used as a symbol to celebrate all of America’s veterans and not just those who are Christians.
The cross in question was erected as a tribute to World War One veterans.
Scalia seemed genuinely taken aback that a cross could not be erected “in honor of all the war dead.”
The cross, he said, “is the most common symbol of … the resting place of the dead.”
In response, Eliasberg, who is Jewish, was keen to remind the justice that not everyone gets a kick out of Christian symbols.
“The cross is the most common symbol of the resting place of Christians,” he said. “I have been in Jewish cemeteries. There is never a cross on a tombstone of a Jew.”
The public tittered at Eliasberg’s smackdown, but it probably won’t have any impact on the outcome of the case (Salazar v. Buono).
The ACLU is still likely to lose.

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Lawrence Hurley

Reporter based in Washington

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