Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Cert. Denied In Challenge To City's Removal of Cross

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday denied certiorari in Dawson v. Grand Haven, MI, (Docket No. 17-1024, cert. denied 4/2/2018). (Order List).  In the case, the Michigan Court of Appeals in Dec. 2016 upheld a decision by the city of Grand Haven to stop display of a cross on a city-owned sand dune.  In the case, Dawson v. City of Grand Haven, the Michigan court had said in part:
More than 50 years ago, the "Dewey Hill monument" was donated to defendant as a memorial for those who served and died in the Vietnam War. The monument was placed on Dewey Hill, a sand dune that defendant owned on the Grand River. The Dewey Hill monument consisted of an elaborate lifting mechanism and foundation that was designed to maintain the sand dune. When the lifting mechanism is raised, a cross is displayed. The cross can be made into an anchor by placing attachments on the bottom and top of the cross. For many years, defendant raised the lifting mechanism to display the anchor or the cross when requested by individuals in the community. For many years, First Reformed Church, where several of the plaintiffs are members, paid the required fee and requested that the cross be displayed for its Worship on the Waterfront services, which were held at the waterfront stage and bleachers across the Grand River from Dewey Hill.
In January 2015, defendant passed Resolution 15-013. Pursuant to the resolution, the lifting mechanism of the Dewey Hill monument could only be raised to display the anchor....
Because the Free Speech Clause does not regulate government speech ..., and because the freedom of government to speak includes the right to removal of speech with which the government disapproves, ... Resolution 15-013, which prohibited the lifting mechanism of the Dewey Hill monument from being raised to show the cross, did not violate the Free Speech Clause.
Grand Haven Tribune reports on yesterday's denial of review by the Supreme Court.