About this Case
A resident of the City of Las Cruces, NM, sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the city's adoption of an official symbol depicting Christian crosses violated Establishment Clause. The United States District Court granted summary judgment for the city. The resident appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.
Summary of NLF's Brief
We argued that the case should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, because Establishment Clause claims are not properly brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. If not dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, the city seal should be evaluated and upheld under Marsh v. Chambers. The seal should be upheld because it is part of a long-standing tradition of inscribing religious references on public property. The city seal also should be upheld because it is part of a long-standing tradition of governmental acknowledgement of the role of religion in society.