A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

California court upholds referendum on San Diego cross property transfer

[JURIST] A California appeals court has ruled [PDF text] that a 2005 referendum authorizing the transfer of land, on which a 29-foot cross commemorating veterans [background] sits, to the federal government did not violate the California constitution [text]. The land, owned by the city of San Diego, has been the subject of a legal battle since 1989 [Paulson commentary]. A lower court ruled that the referendum authorizing the transfer of title violated constitutional prohibitions of government involvement in religion, but the appeals court overturned that ruling Thursday.

In August, President Bush signed a bill [PDF text; JURIST report] transferring ownership of the property to the federal government. Philip Paulson, an atheist and Vietnam War veteran, challenged the cross for more than 16 years before his death last month [Union Tribune report]. The Washington Times has more.

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.