Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Civil Procedure Dominates SCOTUS Argument in Major Establishment Clause Case

Salazar v. Buono (No. 08-472) involves an Establishment Clause challenge to a cross erected as a war memorial in the Mojave National Preserve in California. Last week's oral argument garnered considerable attention, especially for some of the exchanges with Justice Scalia about the merits of the Establishment Clause issue (during which "Justice Scalia grew visibly angry" according to the New York Times). But the argument focused on civil procedure, in particular, the potentially preclusive effect of an injunction that had been issued in prior litigation over the cross. Dahlia Lithwick of Slate described the argument as "a protracted civil-procedure exam question."

The oral argument transcript is available here.

For additional coverage of the argument, see ABA Journal, ACSblog, Faculty Lounge (Prof. Kathleen Bergin), FindLaw (Prof. Vikram Amar), PrawfsBlawg (Prof. Paul Horwitz), and SCOTUS Blog.

SCOTUS Blog's wiki on the case is here.



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