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County of Allegheny v. ACLU - Significance, The Controversy Continues

court creche william display


County of Allegheny


American Civil Liberties Union, et al.

Petitioner's Claim

That two separate holiday displays (involving a creche and a menorah, respectively) on public property do not violate the First Amendment's Establishment of Religion Clause.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Roslyn Litman

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Peter Buscemi

Justices for the Court

(Part one, against the creche display) Harry A. Blackmun (writing for the Court), William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O'Connor, John Paul Stevens; (part two, for the menorah display) Harry A. Blackman (writing for the Court), Anthony M. Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor, William H. Rehenquist, Antonin Scalia, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

(Part one, for the creche) Anthony M. Kennedy, William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Byron R. White; (part two, against the menorah) William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marhsall, John P. Stevens


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

3 July 1989


By different majorities, the Court banned the display of the creche but permitted the display of the menorah.

Related Cases

  • Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971).
  • Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668 (1984).
  • Scarsdale v. McCreary, 471 U.S. 83 (1985).
  • Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board et al. v. Pinette et al., 515 U.S. 753 (1995).

Further Readings

  • Ahn, Laura. "This is Not a Creche." Yale Law Journal, April 1998, pp. 1969-1974.
  • Hall, Kermit, ed. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford Press, 1992.
  • Witt, Elder, ed. The Supreme Court A to Z. CQ's Encyclopedia of American Government. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1993.
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