Aaron Harmon

Document Type

Supreme Court Commentaries

Publication Date



First Amendment, General

Subject Category

Constitutional Law | Law


In Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, the Supreme Court must decide whether a privately-donated Ten Commandments monument currently on display in a city park is the private speech of the donor or the government speech of Pleasant Grove City. Summum, a religious organization, sued Pleasant Grove City in federal court claiming that because the city had displayed in a city park a donated Ten Commandments monument, the First Amendment compelled the city to also accept and display Summum's proposed "Seven Aphorisms of Summum" monument. If the Court decides it is the private speech of the donor, it will have to characterize the type of speech forum that exists in permanent monuments at a city park. These determinations will resolve whether Pleasant Grove City could constitutionally decline to erect Summum's monument and clarify First Amendment jurisprudence regarding government speech and forum classification.