Cross Deemed Unconstitutional
LA JOLLA, Ca. (WHNT) – A federal judge in California ruled a 43-foot cross that sits on top of Mount Soledad is unconstitutional religious display on government land and must come down. The cross sits on a federal war memorial.
U.S. District Judge Larry Burns said Thursday that the cross must be removed within 90 days. James McElroy, an attorney on the case, said Burns stayed his order pending an appeal.
Even with the ruling Burns handed down after a lawsuit brought on behalf of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America and other residents, the debate continues. The Mt. Soledad Memorial Association plans to appeal the order.
The cross was erected in 1954, and this is not the first time The Mount Soledad Memorial has sparked debate. The controversy goes back decades. One of the most recent cases involved Burns back in 2011. Burns actually ruled the cross part of the war memorial. A circuit court of appeals reversed the decision, but appeals on the decision sent the case the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court denied hearing the appeal, and so the case went back to federal court where Burns deemed the cross unconstitutional.
There’s a push by some to replace the cross with a non-religious symbol at the memorial. They say the memorial needs more inclusive representation for veterans.
We want to know what you think. Should the cross be taken down and replaced with a more inclusive symbol to honor veterans, or should the cross stay where it is. Share your comments on our Facebook page. We’ll have some of your answers in our news at 9 on WHNT 2.