Supreme Court stays lower court order to remove San Diego memorial cross

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [JURIST news archive] on Monday stayed a lower court's order that a 29-foot cross honoring Korean War veterans [background] be removed from city-owned property in San Diego. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy [official profile], who oversees appeals from the Ninth Circuit, granted without comment the temporary delay requested [docket] by the San Diegans for the Mt. Soledad National War Memorial [advocacy website], which argued that removing the 55-year-old cross would amount to "destruction of a national treasure." City officials had planned to remove the cross as soon as Wednesday. In May, US District Judge Gordon Thompson Jr. [official profile] of the Southern District of California ordered [Union-Tribune report] that the cross be removed by Aug. 2 and that the city be fined $5,000 a day if it was not. Thompson found that the cross was a state endorsement of religion that violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment [text].

The lawsuit was brought by Philip Paulson, an atheist and Vietnam War veteran who has been challenging the cross for more than 15 years. The Supreme Court declined [docket] to consider an appeal in other litigation over the Mt. Soledad cross three years ago. AP has more. SCOTUSblog has additional coverage. The San Diego Union-Tribune has local coverage.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.