Reactions to U.S. Supreme Court decision not to review constitutionality of Mount Soledad cross

The U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal Monday to review a lower court ruling that the cross atop Mount Soledad is unconstitutional means the structure will have to be changed significantly to avoid being taken down, according to a professor at the California Western School of Law.

The case will revert to local courts to create a remedy that satisfies last year’s opinion of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, said constitutional law professor Glenn Smith. Solutions could range from altering the memorial to going as far as taking the 43-foot-tall cross down, but the status quo will not do, he said.

“Whatever takes place would have to be an overall change so that an observer would not feel like the dominant figure is a Christian symbol,” Smith told City News Service.

The cross would have to be viewed as one of several elements of a memorial that honors veterans, he said.

The Mount Soledad Memorial has been the subject of ongoing litigation for the past two decades.

In 1989, two Vietnam veterans sued the city of San Diego, seeking to enjoin it from allowing the cross to remain on city land.

The land on which the cross sits has been under the control of the federal government since 2006, when Congress passed a law allowing seizure of the land for use as a war memorial.

“I was somewhat surprised they didn’t take the case,” Smith said. “It seemed like a perfect opportunity to resolve a long-running issue of legal doctrine.”

He said the nation’s highest court could decide to take the case later, once a ruling is made on remedies in lower courts.

David Blair-Loy, of the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties, told 10News the high court justices made the right decision in refusing to hear the case.

“The 9th circuit decision was right on point on these facts and circumstances,” Blair-Loy said. “Clearly the government has no business playing favorites in religion.”

District 52 U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter made the following statement after the Supreme Court decided not to consider the constitutionality of the memorial in San Diego:

“This ruling by the court is not a final judgment. The Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial will return to the lower courts and, as Justice Alito said in his statement, ‘it remains unclear precisely what action the federal government will be required to take.’

“The Supreme Court passed on an immediate opportunity to settle this issue once and for all. But, in the process, the court continues to leave open the possibility that it will accept the case and make a constitutional determination in the future. That is good news overall.

“There are still issues that need to be settled, and this case will continue to be watched closely in the interest of preserving such a historic memorial that pays tribute to the service and sacrifice of America’s veterans.”

Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Solana Beach, issued a statement condemning the legal opposition to the cross as an insult to veterans and their service.

“I intend to work with my colleagues to promote religious tolerance and find a way to defend this beloved memorial that has served as a symbol of sacrifice for San Diego’s veterans for nearly 100 years,” Bilbray said.

Related posts:

  1. Court revives RUSD lawsuit
  2. Court rules in favor of county’s tiered winery ordinance
  3. Bill proposes protecting religious symbols on war memorials
  4. Ramona court on cut list
  5. Court upholds law abolishing redevelopment agencies

Short URL: http://www.ramonasentinel.com/?p=15173

Posted by Maureen Robertson on Jun 25 2012. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

7 Comments for “Reactions to U.S. Supreme Court decision not to review constitutionality of Mount Soledad cross”

  1. Sam Jemison

    What will be next? Any memorial that even hints of religion, any religion. Our schools, our work place and now memorials. Next it could be our cemetaries ?? Just keep enabling the appointment of liberal supreme court judges and it only a wink away.

    • Bob-o

      I cannot see how you think Alito, Roberts, Thomas, and Scalia are liberal. You must not know how the judicial system – especially the Supreme Court – works. Bush Jr was in 8 years and the senate Repubs have blocked judicial appointments by Obama, to the extent that they are politically able.

      I think the cross is blatant religious imagery that doesn't belong on federal land. Period. All the courts involved made the right decision. You didn't win. Get over it.

      If you people think public religion is so damned important, then go to public services at a CHURCH. Keep your religious stuff to yourself. Not everyone is Christian.

      BTW, I am a combat veteran. I suppose you are, too, or else how would you know how vets want to be appreciated? I didn't do my time so some shrill self-appointed patriots could cram christian religion – or any religion – down my throat.

    • DavidM

      This cross only became a memorial 10 years after it was in court to be removed. Previously it was a Easter cross and the memorial was a dirty trick to bypass laws. Religion endorsement is not for a free nation. Our founding fathers made it clear when they left a religious tyranny they did not want that for America. This cross is a violation of the establishment clause and must be relocated out of respect for our constitution, those of different faiths, those of no faith and to protect our freedoms.

  2. InGodWeTrust

    “Whatever takes place would have to be an overall change so that an observer would not feel like the dominant figure is a Christian symbol,”

    Stupidest thing I ever read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Cross IS a CHRISTIAN symbol and always will be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Take it all away bc this country isn't screwed up enough ya bunch of morons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you don't like it stay away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You all suck!

  3. Glenn Smith

    The last commenter misconstrued my quote. Obviously, the cross is a Christian symbol, and appropriately so. It will remain such. My point was that in order to fix what the 9th Circuit saw as an overall scene that seemed to endorse Christinity (b/c the reasonable observer would see the cross as the dominant, and Christian, symbol), the overall scene would have to be modified so that the cross didn't stand out so prominently. You can disagree with the 9th Circuit's view (although I think it correct reads current legal doctrines, although that isn't the point I was making), but please do not misconstrue them or me as having say the cross should be de-Christianized. That indeed would be quite stupid. –Professo Glenn Smith

  4. DavidM

    It wasn't until this case was in court for ten years that it became a war memorial. Previously the cross was always labelled an Easter cross. To use our veterans as an excuse to disrespect the law of the land and the Constitution is immoral. These radical Christians who hate America and our freedoms have tried everything to keep this offensive, intolerant symbol of hate and racism on government property in spite of countless court loses. They have tried turning it into private property, federal property, having it declared eminent domain and wrongly uses our veterans as an excuse to trample on state and federal laws.

    Our founding fathers who left the tyranny of religion made it very clear as to the importance of providing a "Wall of Separation of Church and State" to a free society. This protection has allowed advances in women's rights, allowed us to overcome the evils of slavery and provided Civil Rights to minorities in spite of what the Christian bible teaches.

    The cross coming down should make you proud to be American and send a clear message to the religious right that we are not a Christian Nation, but rather a diverse Nation that embraces religious freedoms. The Christians intolerance and disrespect for people of other faiths, no faiths, courts of law and our Constitution can not be allowed to spread.

    This is not about a cross, as the Christians could have built a thousand foot tall steel cross on private property for what they spent on this one cause. This is a war on your freedom, your constitution and your judicial system. Christians want to destroy your public schools because they teach real science, they proclaim, "conducting war is an act of Christian love", they are successfully diverting tax money to Churches and they want to take away women's rights.

    We the people should celebrate the cross coming down as a victory for America and religious freedom.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Soledad_cross_...

  5. DavidM

    It wasn't until this case was in court for ten years that it became a war memorial. Previously the cross was always labelled an Easter cross. To use our veterans as an excuse to disrespect the law of the land and the Constitution is immoral. These radical Christians who hate America and our freedoms have tried everything to keep this offensive, intolerant symbol of hate and racism on government property in spite of countless court loses. They have tried turning it into private property, federal property, having it declared eminent domain and wrongly uses our veterans as an excuse to trample on state and federal laws.

Leave a Reply

Facebook

);