Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver will present oral argument tomorrow to the U.S. Supreme Court in Shurtleff v. City of Boston, arguing that the city of Boston violated the First Amendment by censoring a private flag in a public forum open to “all applicants” merely because the application referred to it as a “Christian flag.”
Oral argument in Shurtleff v. City of Boston will begin at 10 a.m. ET and can be heard live at www.LC.org/flag.
After the oral argument, Mat Staver will receive questions at a press conference outside of the Supreme Court.
Liberty Counsel represents Boston resident Hal Shurtleff and his Christian civic organization, Camp Constitution. Shurtleff and Camp Constitution first asked the city in 2017 for a permit to raise the Christian flag on Boston City Hall flagpoles to commemorate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day (September 17) and the civic and cultural contributions of the Christian community to the city of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, religious tolerance, the Rule of Law and the U.S. Constitution.
For 12 years from 2005-2017, Boston approved 284 flag raisings by private organizations with no denials, but then denied Camp Constitution’s flag solely because of the word “Christian” on the application. The year before Camp Constitution’s application (2016-2017), Boston approved 39 private flag raising events, which averaged three per month. In 2018, Boston approved 50 private flag raising events, averaging nearly one per week. One included a flag of a private credit union.
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This case will affect the free speech of every person. If Boston can open a public forum for all applicants but then close the forum to disfavored viewpoints, then every government will be able to censor viewpoints under the guise that every private speaker in the forum was engaging in government speech.
“I look forward to presenting oral argument to the High Court tomorrow in Shurtleff v. City of Boston. This is about much more than the Christian flag. This case will set national precedent and affect the free speech of every person. We must not give government the power to censor disfavored viewpoints in a public forum,” said Mat Staver.
Tonight at 7 p.m. ET, there will be a prayer vigil and a time of worship in front of the High Court led by Faith & Liberty Vice President Peggy Nienaber. The prayer vigil will be livestreamed on Liberty Counsel’s Facebook page.
There will be a rally at 9 a.m. tomorrow in front of the Supreme Court with speakers such as Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, Tim Goeglein (Focus on the Family), Dean Nelson (Frederick Douglass Foundation), Kalisia Richer (Turning Point USA), Rev. Patrick Mahoney (Christian Defense Coalition), Mario Diaz (Concerned Women for America), Jeremy Dys (First Liberty), Larry Cirignano (Choose Life), Hal Shurtleff (Camp Constitution) and Liberty Counsel attorneys Harry Mihet, Roger Gannam and Jonathan Alexandre. The rally will be livestreamed on Liberty Counsel’s Facebook page.