Capitol Square Review and Advisory Bd. v. Pinette, 510 U.S. 1307 (1993)

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Opinion in Chambers


on application for stay of injunction

No. A-517. Decided December 23, 1993

An application to stay an injunction requiring applicants to allow respondents to erect a large Latin cross in front of the Ohio Statehouse is denied. The privately owned cross is currently in place and scheduled to be removed tomorrow. Whatever harm may flow from allowing the cross to remain in place for one more day has probably already occurred; because the legal issues are presumably capable of repetition, the case is unlikely to become moot when the cross is removed. Applicants may be well advised to marshal their arguments in a certiorari petition that can be considered with appropriate deliberation.

Justice Stevens, Circuit Justice.

Today is Thursday, December 23, 1993. Yesterday evening applicants filed with me, in my capacity as Circuit Justice for the Sixth Circuit, an application for a stay of an injunction entered by the District Court and upheld by the Court of Appeals. The injunction required applicants to allow respondents, the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and its leading officers, to erect a large Latin cross in front of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. As I understand the situation, the cross is in place now and is scheduled to be removed tomorrow. If I were to grant the application forthwith, it would be removed today—unless, of course, respondents could persuade the full Court to reinstate the injunction.

The case is unique because the District Court found that the local government has effectively disassociated itself from the display:

"Indeed, the 'reasonable' observer—being an individual who is knowledgeable about local events—might well know by virtue of all of the recent media coverage that the state of Ohio as represented by its leading elected


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