The leak of the decision in the Dobbs case overturning Roe v. Wade was an unparalleled victory for the right in the nation’s culture war.

But there was a decision handed down on Monday that also cheered conservatives. In a very rare 9-0 decision, the court found that the City of Boston violated the First Amendment when city officials denied a conservative group an opportunity to fly a Christian flag at City Hall.

The decision was hardly a slam dunk. Two lower courts found that Boston was within its rights to deny Hal Shurtleff of West Roxbury and co-founder of Camp Constitution his First Amendment rights by rejecting his request to fly a flag with a cross on Constitution Day. Yet for years, the city has allowed groups to fly flags of their choosing from a City Hall flagpole on special occasions.

The U.S. District Court in Massachusetts and the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals had ruled against Shurtleff prior to the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling published on Monday.

Boston Herald:

“We weren’t surprised by the decision,” Shurtleff told the Herald on Monday. “We’re very excited about it.”

“This sets a precedent not just with flags, but with other issues,” he later added. “Our mission is to teach people about the Constitution and the First Amendment, and people should have a better understanding of that now.”

It should have been a no-brainer, considering what the case was about.

The Supreme Court case centered on a flagpole outside Boston City Hall. For years, Boston has allowed private groups to request using the flagpole to raise flags, and the city has approved hundreds of requests to raise dozens of different flags.

The city did not deny a single request to raise a flag until Shurtleff asked to fly a Christian flag. The city has said it denied Shurtleff’s request because it believed flying a religious flag at City Hall could violate the Establishment clause under the First Amendment — which prohibits the government from establishing a religion.

But in the Supreme Court ruling, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote, “Because the flag-raising program did not express government speech, Boston’s refusal to let petitioners fly their flag violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.”

When even a liberal can agree that it’s okay to fly a flag with a cross in front of a government building, perhaps there’s hope for the country yet.

Related: The Morning Briefing: Democrats Find a New Lunatic Fringe After SCOTUS Leak

Right on cue, the “Satanic Temple” sent a request to the city of Boston to fly their flag, now that the Supreme Court has allowed a cross to be displayed.


“Religious Liberty is a bedrock principle in a democracy, and Religious Liberty is dependent upon government viewpoint neutrality,” Lucien Greaves, cofounder of The Satanic Temple said in a statement. “When public officials are allowed to preference certain religious viewpoints over others, we do not have Religious Liberty, we have theocracy.”

Naturally, the Americans United for Separation of Church and State believe the Supreme Court decision is the end of the world.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State President and CEO Rachel Laser said in a statement, “This ruling could undermine church-state separation if it is abused in ways that end up favoring the dominant religious majority. But governments might avoid that by closing the forum at any time, as the court noted.”

The fact that the case was decided 9-0 indicates the massive overreach by Boston in trying to curry favor with every other group except Christians by refusing to fly a flag with a cross. The city government was trying to avoid controversy and ended up stepping into it hip deep anyway.

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