How often do Americans see a unanimous decision come from the United States Supreme Court? Especially on a free speech/religion issue.
But that’s what happened on Monday, and Americans should delight in it. It’s encouraging to know the justices can agree unanimously on anything.
According to the Associated Press, SCOTUS “ruled… that Boston violated the free speech rights of a conservative activist when it refused his request to fly a Christian flag on a flagpole outside City Hall.”
In front of Boston City Hall stand three flagpoles. One each for the American Flag, the Massachusetts state flag, and the Boston city flag. On occasion, the city lowers its flag to allow people to fly other flags.
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the Court that Boston “discriminated against the conservative activist, Harold Shurtleff, because of his ‘religious viewpoint,’ even though it had routinely approved applications for the use of one of the three flagpoles….”
Shurtleff wanted to fly the Christian flag “to mark Constitution Day, Sept. 17, in 2017.”
The Christian Flag is described as a “white banner with a red cross on a blue background in the upper left corner.”
The city said he could fly a different banner, but Shurtleff declined. The AP reported that “lower courts upheld the city’s decision.”
Boston had approved 284 applications in a row to display other flags, “before it rejected Shurtleff’s because it was a Christian flag.”
ABC News reported Boston had approved hundreds of flags over 12 years, only rejecting this one flag.
SCOTUS said Boston and the lower courts “were wrong.” It came down to whether the city’s “flag-flying” was a government or private act. The Court ruled the city has little to do with which flag flies, making it “private, not government, speech….” Breyer also wrote Boston could change its policies.
Unsurprisingly in Democrat-run Boston, “The city has said that in the event of a loss at the Supreme Court, it probably will change its policy to take more control of what flags can fly.”
Wouldn’t want the people to have more rights than they deserve. Especially those pesky Christians.