Supreme Court declines to rule on state-funded cross restoration

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] denied certiorari [order list, PDF] Tuesday in a case in which an Illinois tax-payer was found to lack standing to sue the state legislature for a $20,000 grant provided to the Bald Knob Cross of Peace Organization to restore a landmark Latin cross. The petition challenged a June ruling [opinion, PDF] by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] which found the petitioner, Robert Sherman, lacked standing to sue the state [JURIST report] because the legislature did not choose the specific organizations that would receive the money. The money was part of a $5 million appropriation for a grant program to be administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The challenge was initially brought in August 2010 by Sherman, who has said on his website [advocacy website] that the decision of the District Court was "bizarre" and "preposterous." In October 2010 the Seventh Circuit rejected [JURIST report] Sherman's challenge to the constitutionality of an Illinois statute that mandates a daily moment of silence in public schools. The court reversed an April 2009 ruling [JURIST report] that the Illinois Reflection and Silent Prayer Act [text] is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion in public schools. The appellate court instead found that the statute had a secular legislative purpose that neither advanced nor inhibited religion.

 

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