The Blandensburg Cross, aka The Peace Cross, is a war memorial, located in the three-way junction of Bladensburg Road, Baltimore Avenue, and Annapolis Road in Bladensburg, Maryland.
The American Humanist Association had sued the American Legion to have the cross removed, arguing the memorial represented a Christian symbol on public land and violated the establishment clause.
Lower courts had agreed with the plaintiff, against the American Legion, and the memorial was to be removed. The American Legion appealed the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court.
Today the Supreme Court reversed the lower court rulings (full pdf below). In a 7-2 decision authored by Justice Alito, the court acknowledged the Bladensburg Cross -as a memorial- represents more than religion and does not violate the establishment clause.
“The cross is undoubtedly a Christian symbol, but that fact should not blind us to everything else that the Bladensburg Cross has come to represent. For some, that monument is a symbolic resting place for ancestors who never returned home. For others, it is a place for the community to gather and honor all veterans and their sacrifices for our Nation. For others still, it is a historical landmark. For many of these people, destroying or defacing the Cross that has stood undisturbed for nearly a century would not be neutral and would not further the ideals of respect and tolerance embodied in the First Amendment.”
~ Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.