ALTO PASS — An advocate for atheism is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up his case against the state of Illinois over a grant given for the restoration of the Bald Knob Cross of Peace in Alto Pass.
Rob Sherman, a resident of Buffalo Grove, filed a petition for review with the court Tuesday. He is contesting a $20,000 Illinois Department of Commerce and Economy Opportunity grant the agency gave to the board of directors overseeing renovation of the 111-foot cross in 2008 on grounds it violated separation of church and state laid out in the U.S. Consitution.
In his brief filed with the high court, Sherman argues the constitutionality of public expenditures should be based on how a government body spends the money, not which branch of government did the spending. Current Supreme Court precedent prohibits legislative branches of government from spending public money to advance religion, but allows for legislatures to send money to executive branches to spend for such purposes, Sherman said.
“That allows the legislative branch to make blatantly unconstitutional expenditures of public funds with impunity,” Sherman said.
Sherman’s case against the state has been repeatedly tossed, and he’s not entirely confident the Supreme Court will pick up the case, as it only accepts about 1 in every 100 cases submitted for review. He will know by June 30, 2013 whether the court will deliver an opinion.