Cross constitutionality question could be headed to Supreme Court

LA JOLLA (CNS) – A Texas-based legal foundation announced Thursday it will
fight an appellate court's ruling that declared the cross atop Mount Soledad
unconstitutional with an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Liberty Institute, which held a rally and news conference at the
site of the 29-foot cross, will challenge the ruling issued by justices of the
9th U.S. Court of Appeal.

The land underneath the cross — part of a memorial originally dedicated
to those killed in the Korean War — has been under federal control since 2006.

The foundation's petition to have the high court overturn the appellate
justices, who found the cross violated the Establishment Clause of the First
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, stated it is a “fully integrated” part of
the memorial and a “passive display” of the sort the high court justices have
upheld in the past.

The document said the Supreme Court has previously ruled that displays
with religious content don't necessarily violate the Establishment Clause.

Opponents, who also held a news conference and demonstration at the
memorial, say the cross unconstitutionally favors a religion while on federal
property.

“This cross, which is on government and public land, has no function
except to promote one brand of religion,” said Bruce Gleason, who belongs to
an Orange County group called Backyard Skeptics.

“The defenders of keeping the cross say that the cross is a war
memorial, but it was not until a lawsuit against the cross for 1st Amendment
violation did the defenders start promoting it as a war memorial.”

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by voice vote a
bill by San Diego's Republican congressional delegation to protect religious
symbols on war memorials.

The bill still has to go through the Senate and be signed by President
Barack Obama before it becomes law.

The foundation said there are thousands of crosses and other religious
symbols at veterans memorials throughout the country.

“There is a pressing national need for the court to make clear that
memorials adorned with religious symbols such as a cross or the Star of David
are not constitutionally suspect,” the foundation lawyers wrote.

Categories: KUSI