The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross case Monday, paving the way for California's lower courts to make a decision before any other legal action is taken in the dispute over religious symbolism on government land in San Diego County.
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"While we are disappointed the Court did not accept this case for review at this time, we are hopeful we can find a solution that will allow this veterans memorial to remain where it has stood for over half a century," said Allyson Ho, lead counsel for the co-defendant, the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association.
The memorial cross honoring the sacrifices and service of U.S. veterans has been on government property atop Mount Soledad near La Jolla, Calif., since 1954.
The land was owned by the City of San Diego until 2006. The property was then transferred to the federal government through an eminent domain action by Congress. It is surrounded by six concentric walls with the photos, names and diverse religious symbols. The 29-foot cross stands 43-feet high on a base.
The ACLU filed suit in 2006 on behalf of Jewish War Veterans of the USA and some residents of San Diego against the cross display. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in 2011 that the cross was unconstitutional. Liberty Institute appealed in 2012 and the U.S. Solicitor General joined the appeal in defense of the memorial cross.
While the Supreme Court temporarily refused to review the case on Monday, lawyers defending the memorial cross are optimistic because Justice Samuel Alito issued a statement stating that an appeal may be premature. Also, that the court may reconsider this case after the district court issues a final order determining the fate of the memorial.
SOURCE: Christian Post