The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a city park in Utah does not have to include a monument sought by a small religious sect even though it already features a Ten Commandments monument.
Summum, a Salt Lake City–based group, had argued that officials in Pleasant Grove City, Utah, violated its free speech rights when they did not permit a proposed monument reflecting the group’s beliefs.
The “placement of a permanent monument in a public park is best viewed as a form of government speech,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito in the unanimous opinion, “and is therefore not subject to scrutiny under the Free Speech Clause” of the First Amendment.
Jay Sekulow, the attorney who argued the case for the city, cheered the February 25 decision as a “great victory” for municipalities. He had argued that a decision against the city would have serious ramifications, perhaps forcing permission for a “Statue of Tyranny” to be erected near the Statue of Liberty.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).