Society of Separationists v. Pleasant Grove City

AU's Role: 
AU's Involvement Began: 
September 2004
Status: 

This lawsuit concerned a public-park display by a Utah city of a monument bearing the text of the Ten Commandments and various religious symbols. Applying the decision in Anderson v. Salt Lake City Corp., 475 F.2d 29 (10th Cir. 1973) — which is of questionable validity in light of subsequent decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court — a federal district court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ challenge. The plaintiffs appealed. In September 2004, AU filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs’ petition for initial hearing en banc, arguing that Anderson is due to be overruled in light of subsequent legal developments. Unfortunately, however, the request was denied. We then filed an amicus brief on the merits, arguing that Anderson has been effectively overruled and that a panel of the court is therefore able to declare the decision invalid. The Tenth Circuit held on August 1, 2005, that the Supreme Court’s decisions in McCreary County, Kentucky v. ACLU and Van Orden v. Perry "superseded" Anderson and mandated a remand of the lower court’s judgment for further development of the "myriad factual considerations" that are relevant to the Establishment Clause analysis. The defendant filed a petition for rehearing en banc in mid-August 2005, but the court denied it on October 11. In January 2006, the plaintiffs moved to dismiss their claims and, on February 15, 2006, the court granted the motion. 

Most Recent Developments: