Monumentally Speaking: Pleasant Grove City v. Summum

February 16, 2009
In a case brought by a quirky religion against a small city council, Pleasant Grove City, et al., v. Summum, a corporate sole and church, No. 07-665,1 the Supreme Court grapples with the critical distinction between private speech and government speech, a demarcation necessary to the proper application of both the Free Speech Clause and Establishment Clause that currently perplexes the lower courts. The case arose when the city council of Pleasant Grove, Utah, refused to allow Summum, a religious group, to erect a monument featuring its principles, or “Seven Aphorisms,” in a public park next to a Ten Commandments monument installed in 1971 by the Fraternal Order of Eagles....