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Supreme Court declines to rule on state-funded cross restoration

The US Supreme Court [official website] denied certiorari [order list, PDF] Tuesday in a case in which an Illinois tax-payer was found to lack standing to sue the state legislature for a $20,000 grant provided to the Bald Knob Cross of Peace Organization to restore a landmark Latin cross. The petition challenged a June ruling [opinion, PDF] by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] which found the petitioner, Robert Sherman, lacked standing to sue the state [JURIST report] because the legislature did not choose the specific organizations that would receive the money. The money was part of a $5 million appropriation for a grant program to be administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The challenge was initially brought in August 2010 by Sherman, who has said on his website [advocacy website] that the decision of the District Court was "bizarre" and "preposterous." In October 2010 the Seventh Circuit rejected [JURIST report] Sherman's challenge to the constitutionality of an Illinois statute that mandates a daily moment of silence in public schools. The court reversed an April 2009 ruling [JURIST report] that the Illinois Reflection and Silent Prayer Act [text] is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion in public schools. The appellate court instead found that the statute had a secular legislative purpose that neither advanced nor inhibited religion.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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