Monday, October 17, 2011

Good News on Mt. Soledad Cross

Mt. Soledad as it should be, with just an awesome flag, and nothing else to distract us from honoring veterans, like my late father, who were not Christian. Image from

Background: The Mount Soledad Memorial Association didn't like it when the 9th Circuit said that a giant cross on public land is unconstitutional. (Duh.) The Memorial Association argued that it wasn't, and they court said (paraphrasing) "Yes it is." So the Memorial Association asked the court to hear their case again.

Today the court said (paraphrasing), "No! We said it's unconstitutional, and we meant it!" Full text from the AP:

9th Circuit won't rehear Calif. park cross case

By JULIE WATSON, Associated Press – 4 hours ago

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A full panel of federal judges has declined to rehear the case of a war memorial cross in a public park in San Diego that has been deemed unconstitutional by the court.

A group fighting to preserve the monument announced Monday that the 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied its request. Five of the judges dissented, stating the cross should stay.

A three-judge panel in January ruled that the cross conveys a message of religion and is unconstitutional.

Kelly Shackelford says his organization will appeal to the Supreme Court. Shackelford is an attorney for the Mount Soledad Memorial Association, which oversees the monument.

The 29-foot (9-meter) cross in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla was dedicated in 1954 in honor of Korean War veterans.

The cross has been at the center of a struggle for years now, spear-headed by Del Mar civil rights attorney James McElroy, and its protectors have used a number of poor-faith legal moves to avoid the inevitable (there were a lot - if you're a legal buff, Google it). What's more, the cross was erected at a time when there were active and very well-documented anti-Semitic attitudes in La Jolla. Maybe the cross is not a signal of those attitudes today - I hope - but it's hard to argue that wasn't part of why people put it up in the first place, and I can't imagine the Christian members of our community would want to perpetuate that legacy any more than the rest of us.

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