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Religious Liberty, Free Speech Score $2.1M Win in Boston Flag Ruling

'The case of Shurtleff v. City of Boston finally buried this ghoul that haunted the First Amendment for 51 years... '

(Joshua Paladino, Headline USA) The city of Boston has finally settled its Christian flag case by agreeing to pay the plaintiff and his attorneys $2.1 million for fees related to a five-year legal battle that ended at the Supreme Court.

In 2017, Boston denied a request from resident Hal Shurtleff and his conservative-Christian group, Camp Constitution, to fly the Christian flag in front of city hall, according to Liberty Counsel.

Before Shurtleff’s request, Boston had let groups fly 284 different flags over 12 years on a flagpole that the city called a “public forum.” Boston had never denied a group’s application until Shurtleff used the word “Christian” to describe the flag.

He asked Boston to fly the Christian flag on September 17, Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, to recognize the influence that Christians had in developing the city of Boston, the state of Massachusetts, the Constitution and the ideas of religious toleration and the rule of law.

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Boston told Shurtleff that the city would not fly religious flags.

With help from Liberty Counsel, he sued and brought Shurtleff v. City of Boston through four lower courts until the First Amendment case reached the nation’s highest court. The Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that Boston cannot discriminate based on viewpoint when determining what to allow in a public forum.

After the ruling, the Christian flag flew in front of the Boston City Hall on August 3.

The court’s decision in Shurtleff led the way to overturning Lemon v. Kurtzman, a 1971 case that Justice Antonin Scalia called a “ghoul in a late night horror movie” because it instructed governments to censor religious viewpoints.

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“We are pleased that after five years of litigation and a unanimous victory at the U.S. Supreme Court, we joined with Hal Shurtleff to finally let freedom fly in Boston, the Cradle of Liberty,” said Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver.

“The case of Shurtleff v. City of Boston finally buried this ghoul that haunted the First Amendment for 51 years.”

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