The Court today heard arguments in Salazar v Buono, a highly anticipated establishment clause case. Many observers thought the Court might decide the case on standing, leaving the pricklier 1st amendment issue alone, but based on oral arguments that seems unlikely. The case was brought by a retired National Parks Service employee who objected to a cross on park lands that serves as a war memorial for World War One veterans. Although the cross was originally erected privately and continues to be maintained privately, it stood for years on land owned by the government. To protect it from 1st amendment claims made by the retired employee, Congress voted to sell a small patch of land, including the rock on which the cross stands, to the VFW. At issue now is whether or not doing so removed the establishment clause issue.