Home Menu ↓
Clicking on our sponsor links helps insure continued free access to this website.
Please support our efforts by visiting our sponsors:

 

Salazar v. Buono

Docket No.: 08-472
Certiorari Granted: Feb 23 2009
Argued: October 7, 2009
Decided: April 28, 2010

PartyNames: Ken L. Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, et al. v. Frank Buono
Petitioner: Ken L. Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, et al.
Respondent: Frank Buono

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Ken L. Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, et al.
v.
Frank Buono
Background:

More than 70 years ago, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) erected a cross as a memorial to fallen service members in a remote area within what is now a federal preserve. After the district court held that the presence of the cross on federal land violated the Establishment Clause and the court permanently enjoined the government from permitting the display of the cross, Congress enacted legislation directing the Department of the Interior to transfer an acre of land including the cross to the VFW in exchange for a parcel of equal value. The district court then permanently enjoined the government from implementing that Act of Congress, and the court of appeals affirmed.

Question Presented:

1. Whether respondent has standing to maintain this action where he has no objection to the public display of a cross, but instead is offended that the public land on which the cross is located is not also an open forum on which other persons might display other symbols. 2. Whether, even assuming respondent has standing, the court of appeals erred in refusing to give effect to the Act of Congress providing for the transfer of the land to private hands.

Question:

1) Can Mr. Buono's suit be maintained when he is merely offended by the fact that public land on which a cross is displayed is not a forum for other religious symbols? 2) Did the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit err in not giving effect to Congress's land swap where Sunrise Rock was made private land?

Holding: judgment reversed and remanded
Vote: 5-4
Read SALAZAR V. BUONO opinion (PDF)