BREAKING: Boston Has to Pay

Nov 9, 2022

Constitutional rights violators are now being held accountable, thanks to Liberty Counsel. The City of Boston discovered this week that robbing Americans of their religious freedom rights is costly.  

Yesterday, a settlement agreement was filed with the court requiring Boston to pay over 2.1 million dollars in the “Christian flag” case. The City of Boston’s censorship of Christian viewpoints proved to be costly.  

Read on to learn about our historic win at the U.S. Supreme Court, and how Liberty Counsel is holding constitutional violators accountable for their attempts to eliminate Christian viewpoints from the public forum.

Liberty Counsel’s groundbreaking legal work is restoring religious freedom in America and changing the legal landscape for good! YOU can be a part of the blessing. Give today and a special Challenge Grant will DOUBLE THE IMPACT of your donation. —Mat

In 1971, a liberal activist Supreme Court ruled in Lemon v. Kurtzman and created a judicial test that did incredible damage to the Free Speech, Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment.  

So began a 51-year assault on religious freedom. The “Lemon test” created by the Supreme Court was used by the ACLU and antireligious freedom activist judges as a wrecking ball against religious symbols, displays, words and speech. The test led to inconsistent and contradictory decisions for over five decades.

In 1989, when Anita and I founded Liberty Counsel, one of our objectives was to overturn the terrible 1971 Lemon test. I have long witnessed the unconstitutional, antireligious damage it caused.

In 1992, I wrote an amicus brief on the Lee v. Weisman Supreme Court case. A rabbi had been asked to deliver a nonsectarian graduation prayer. He took the podium thanking God for “the legacy of America where diversity is celebrated …"

The rabbi continued, saying, “O God, we are grateful for the learning which we have celebrated on this joyous commencement ... we give thanks to you, Lord, for keeping us alive, sustaining us and allowing us to reach this special, happy occasion.”

The ACLU sued the school. Sadly, the politicized Court of that time refused to strike down Lemon’s faulty reasoning. I must admit, I felt defeated for about two days. But that defeated spirit did not last. Instead, I worked harder and smarter to overturn the Lemon test.

Through God’s grace, Liberty Counsel drove the final stake through Lemon’s dark heart this year!

In our case Shurtleff v. City of Boston, Liberty Counsel achieved a rare 9-0 victory at the Supreme Court. The High Court ruled that the City of Boston violated the Constitution by censoring a private flag in a public forum open to “all applicants” merely because the application referred to it as a “Christian flag.” Every Supreme Court Justice rejected Boston’s reliance on Lemon.

“It’s time to let Lemon lie in its grave,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the Shurtleff ruling released May 2, 2022. Gorsuch compared Lemon to a lazy, uniformed avatar in a video game that has a default sour mood when it comes to religion.

Our 9-0 win in Shurtleff was a major win for religious freedom and free speech. But even more important, our Shurtleff ruling killed the flawed “Lemon test” once and for all.

The City of Boston must pay for its egregious violation!

After five years of litigation and a unanimous 9-0 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the City of Boston has agreed to pay Liberty Counsel 2,125,000 dollars for attorney’s fees and costs for the unconstitutional religious viewpoint discrimination of the Christian flag.

Not only did Liberty Counsel hold the City of Boston accountable for its unconstitutional attempt to rob citizens of their religious freedom, but our work is also preserving religious freedom for generations to come.

Because we killed the Lemon test in Shurtleff and were cited in both the Dobbs ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade AND the Coach Kennedy case (the coach who prayed on the field after each game), Liberty Counsel has changed the legal landscape in America for good!

The Christian flag finally flew on the Boston City Hall Plaza public forum flagpole on August 3 as an enthusiastic crowd gathered amid cheers to celebrate the first day free of unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.

We are pleased that after five years of litigation and a unanimous victory at the Supreme Court, we joined with Hal Shurtleff and Camp Constitution to finally let freedom fly in Boston, the “Cradle of Liberty.” The Christian flag case has established significant precedent, including overturning the 1971 Lemon test, which the late 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.

But we are ONLY able to achieve religious freedom wins because of YOU! Liberty Counsel never charges our clients. Few could afford to take on the endless resources of a government gone mad. Instead, our clients rely on faithful Liberty Counsel supporters like you.

Please, take a moment right now to fund our legal work. When you do, a special Challenge Grant will DOUBLE THE IMPACT of your donation.

Mat Staver
Founder and Chairman
Liberty Counsel


Clark, R. Scott. “Scalia on the Lemon Test as Late-Night Ghoul.” The Heidelblog, November 30, 2013.

“Lamb's Chapel V. Center Moriches Union Free School District.” Legal Information Institute, 1993.

“SCOTUS Rules in Favor of Coach Kennedy.” Liberty Counsel, June 27, 2022.

Staver, Mathew, Anita Staver, Horatio Mihet, Roger Gannam, and Daniel Schmid. “Supreme Court of the United States on Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit BRIEF of AMICUS CURIAE LIBERTY COUNSEL in SUPPORT of PETITIONER Counsel for Amicus.” March 1, 2022.