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Allegheny County v. ACLU (docket #: 87-2050) (1989)  [Findlaw]

Secondary Link Allegheny County v. ACLU  [Legal Information Institute]
Argument Date 02/22/1989
Decided 7/3/1989
Supreme Court Vote 5-4
Note Together with No. 88-90, Chabad v. American Civil Liberties Union et al., and No. 88-96, City of Pittsburgh v. American Civil Liberties Union, Greater Pittsburgh Chapter, et al., also on certiorari to the same court.
Supreme Court Ruling Establishment Clause claim upheld in part, denied in part; the creche is unconstitutional while the menorah is not,due to its physical setting.
IssueWhether a display of a nativity creche on the steps of the County Courthouse, and a Chanukah menorah outside the City-County building violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment
Majority Opinion Blackmun, J. (joined on Parts III-A, IV and V by Brennan, J., Marshall, J., Stevens, J., & O'Connor, J.; joined in Parts I and II by Stevens, J., and O'Connor, J.; joined in Part III-B by O'Connor, J.; joined in Part VII by Stevens, J.)
Concurring Opinion O'Connor, J. (joined in Part II by Brennan, J., & Stevens, J.)
Dissenting Opinion Brennan, J. (dissenting in part, joined by Marshall, J., & Stevens, J.) & Stevens, J. (dissenting in part, joined by Brennan, J., & Marshall, J.), & Kennedy, J. (dissenting in part, joined by Rehnquist, C.J., White, J., & Scalia, J.)
Lower Court 3rd Circuit
Lower Court Ruling Establishment Clause claim upheld
Oral Arguments Audio (Oyez)  [Oyez]
For Petitioner
Nathan Lewin (for petitioners in No. 88-90)

Peter Buscemi (for petitioners in Nos. 87-2050 and 88-96)

For Respondent
Roslyn M. Litman

For Amicus
American Jewish Committee et al. (for respondents)

American Jewish Congress et al. (for respondents)

Dennis Rapps and A. David Stern for the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (for petitioners)

Douglas W. Davis, Robert K. Skolrood, and William C. Wood, Jr for the National Legal Foundation (for petitioners)

Jordan W. Lorence, Cimron Campbell, and Wendell R. Bird for Concerned Woman for America (for petitioner)

Robert E. Williams for the city of Warren, Michigan (for petitioner)

Solicitor General Fried, Deputy Solicitor General Ayer, and Michael K. Kellogg for the United States (for petitioner)

News Stories & Commentary
Singer, Randy, "Balancing religion, holidays and the public square," USA Today, Dec. 19, 2005, Sect. A, p. 13
Ruling - Lower Court
842 F.2d 655
"Pennsylvania County Rejects Displaying of Nativity Scene," The New York Times, Nov. 26, 1989, p. 36
Greenhouse, Linda, "Court Restudies Issue of Government-Sponsored Christmas Displays," The New York Times, Feb. 23, 1989, Sect. B, p. 4
Greenhouse, Linda, "In Menorah and Creche Cases, Court Takes Case-By-Case Tack," The New York Times, July 4, 1989, p. 1
Ruth Marcus, "Supreme Court Again Judges Official Religious Displays," The Washington Post, Feb 23, 1989
Wermiel, Stephen, "Justices Curb Religious Displays Exhibited by State, Local Officials," The Wall Street Journal, July 5, 1989, Sect. B, p. 3
"Frosty, Save This Honorable Court," The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 22, 1989, Sect. A, p. 6
Will, George F., "Nonsense About Church And State,"Pennsylvania County Rejects Displaying of Nativity Scene," The Washington Post, July 9, 1989, Sect.B, p. 7
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