Boston pays out $2.1M to settle Christian flag legal case

Nov 8, 2022, 1:12 PM | Updated: 1:38 pm

BOSTON (AP) — The city of Boston has agreed to pay more than $2.1 million to the Christian legal organization that backed a court challenge after the city refused to fly a Christian flag outside City Hall, a case that made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The settlement announced Tuesday by Liberty Counsel covers attorneys’ fees and other costs associated with the legal battle that started in 2017 when city resident Hal Shurtleff and his Camp Constitution group asked to hoist the flag on one of three poles on City Hall Plaza to mark Constitution Day.

“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,” Liberty Counsel founder and Chairman Mat Staver said in a statement.

The U.S., state and city flags usually fly outside the building, but the city flag is sometimes taken down and temporarily replaced with another.

Between 2005 and 2017, the city approved 284 consecutive applications from private organizations to fly flags, with no denials, before it rejected Shurtleff’s proposal, Liberty Counsel said.

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in May that the city violated the free speech rights of Shurtleff because of his “religious viewpoint.”

The Christian flag — which is white, with a red cross on a blue background in the upper left corner — finally flew for a couple hours outside City Hall on Aug. 3 as activists cheered and sang songs of praise.

The city has since passed an ordinance that clarifies the rules for flag raisings.

Liberty Counsel was entitled to attorneys’ fees as the prevailing party in the case, the city said in a statement.

The city’s Law Department determined $2.125 million to be reasonable based on billing statements provided by Liberty Counsel and through their own analysis, the statement said.

“Settlement at this time also allows the City to avoid the costs and uncertainty associated with further litigation in this case,” the city statement said.

The case has established precedent, Liberty Counsel’s Staver said, “including the overturning of the 1971 ‘Lemon Test,’ which Justice (Antonin) Scalia once described as a ‘ghoul in a late night horror movie.’ The case of Shurtleff v. City of Boston finally buried this ghoul that haunted the First Amendment for 51 years.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Dylan Brandt speaks at a news conference outside the federal courthouse in Little Rock, Ark....
Associated Press

Landmark trial on Arkansas trans youth medical ban wraps up

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The nation’s first trial on a ban on gender-confirming care for children ended Thursday, as Arkansas wrapped up its case defending the prohibition with testimony from an endocrinologist opposed to such treatments for minors. U.S. District Judge Jay Moody, who is considering whether to strike down the law after hearing […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

Kansas justice chides state law school for ‘closed’ climate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A member of Kansas’ highest court has resigned in protest from a part-time teaching job at a state law school following what he says was an unsuccessful attempt by the university to pressure students into canceling an event featuring a leader of a group that opposes LGBTQ rights. State Supreme Court […]
17 hours ago
State Sen. Robert Peters, D-Chicago, center, testifies before the Senate Executive Committee on Thu...
Associated Press

Illinois Senate OKs crime bill cleanup and sends it to House

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Senate approved Democrats’ followup clarifications of their landmark criminal justice overhaul Thursday, appeasing critics by adding numerous offenses to a list of crimes that qualify a defendant to remain jailed while awaiting trial. The Senate voted 38-17 to send the changes to the House for action the final day […]
17 hours ago
FILE - Former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club is seen in the aerial view in Palm Beach, Fl...
Associated Press

Trump probe: Court halts Mar-a-Lago special master review

WASHINGTON (AP) — A unanimous federal appeals court on Thursday ended an independent review of documents seized from former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate, removing a hurdle the Justice Department said had delayed its criminal investigation into the retention of top-secret government information. The decision by the three-judge panel represents a significant win for federal […]
17 hours ago
FILE - Kanye West arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Feb. 9, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. ...
Associated Press

Rapper Ye is no longer buying right-wing social app Parler

The rapper Ye is no longer buying right-leaning social media site Parler, the company said Thursday. Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, had offered to buy Parler in October. At the time, Ye and Parlement Technologies, which owns Parler, said the acquisition would be completed in the last three months of the year. The sale […]
17 hours ago
FILE - Investigators search for evidence outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, May 25, 2...
Associated Press

Uvalde sues local prosecutor over school shooting records

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The city of Uvalde sued the local prosecutor’s office Thursday seeking access to records and other investigative materials on the May shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two teachers dead, a move that highlights ongoing tensions over the slow police response and information flow on the rampage. […]
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Boston pays out $2.1M to settle Christian flag legal case