Motion granted seeking to have Mt. Soledad cross case heard by U.S. Supreme Court

(Ed. note: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted Liberty Institute’s emergency motion to stay, filed Oct. 20 on behalf of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, allowing the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial to stand while the case is on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court).

City News Service

A nonprofit legal firm announced Friday that it filed a motion with the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals to delay ordering changes to the cross atop Mount Soledad so that the case can be appealed to the nation’s highest court.

The filing by the Liberty Institute came after appellate justices declined to rehear a panel’s recent ruling that the cross at the 56-year-old veterans memorial was unconstitutional.

The American Civil Liberties Union believes the 29-foot-high cross is a religious symbol that should not stand on public property.

Kelly Shackelford, president of Liberty Institute and attorney for the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, which oversees the monument, said it is a symbol that stands in honor of the United States armed forces and the brave individuals who sacrificed their lives in service to the United States.’'

We must protect the rights of our veterans and defend the memorials established in their honor,’' Shackelford said.The outcome of the Mount Soledad Memorial not only affects past and current members of the armed forces, but it affects future generations of Americans.”

The U.S. Supreme Court last year allowed a cross that served as a war memorial to remain on public land in the Mojave Desert. Backers of the cross in La Jolla say it’s a secular memorial for the military that was originally dedicated to Korean War veterans.

However, the late-Phillip Paulson -- an atheist -- sued to have the cross removed in 1989 because the memorial excluded non-Christians. A Jewish veterans group joined with the ACLU lawsuit.