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WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court justices appeared to have little doubt Tuesday that Boston was wrong to refuse to fly a banner described as a Christian flag in front of City Hall.

Arguments at the high court appeared to unite judges left and right in favor of Harold Shurtleff, a Tory activist. Shurtleff wanted to fly a white banner with a red cross on a blue background in the upper left corner, called the Christian flag.

There are three flagpoles outside City Hall that fly the flags of the United States, Massachusetts, and Boston. Sometimes the city takes down its own pennant and temporarily hoists another flag.

Although Boston has approved 284 consecutive nominations – most involving flags of other nations – a city official turned down Shurtleff and his camp constitution because he said he wanted to fly the Christian flag.

Judge Samuel Alito noted that Chinese and Cuban flags flew in front of City Hall. Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, representing Boston, said it’s part of a policy that recognizes the heritage of Boston residents, not an endorsement of those plans.

Judge Elena Kagan was among several judges who suggested the decision to deny Shurtleff’s request was a simple mistake. “Why couldn’t people fix this mistake?” Kagan asked.

The case hinges on whether the flag waving is an act of the government, in which case Boston can do whatever it wants, or private parties like Shurtleff.

If the flagpole looks more like a designated free speech or protest zone outside of Boston City Hall and other government buildings across the country, Hallward-Driemeier admitted that rejecting certain points of view and permitting others is tantamount to discrimination.

The Biden administration and the American Civil Liberties Union are among a wide range of parties on Shurtleff’s side.

Boston has indicated it will change its policy if it loses the case to take more control over which flags can fly.

The case has a strange bedfellows aspect in that Shurtleff, a former John Birch Society organizer, uses his Camp Constitution website to question the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the result of the 2020 election that put President Joe Biden in office, the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, and even who was behind the 9/11 attacks.

None of this came up during the arguments.

A decision in Shurtleff v. Boston, 20-1800, is expected by late spring.