Mt. Soledad cross, meant to honor veterans, ordered down, again

Mt. Soledad cross, meant to honor veterans, ordered down, again

mt soledad - LUIf only a jar of urine were constructed to house the cross, it would be art acceptable to your average Democrat judge. One hundred years after crosses were first placed atop Mt. Soledad in California, in the the third such lawsuit brought since 1989, a federal judge has ordered the removal of the symbol of the Crucifixion of Jesus due to its alleged violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

Since U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, in his capacity as administrative justice of the Ninth Circuit, issued a stay in 2006 preventing the removal of the cross the last time a federal judge demanded its removal, the land upon which the cross sits was sold to the federal government as a war memorial from the City of San Diego, the previous owner.

Prior to that case and since 1989, local governments  and the federal government have fought the ACLU and liberal judges in California and the Ninth Circuit writ large in a conflict that would rival Europe’s religious Thirty Years War of the 17th Century should appeals from today’s decision by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns last until 2019:

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ordered the cross, which honors veterans, must be removed within 90 days — a decision that could result in the case being sent back to the U.S. Supreme Court. Burns immediately stayed his order pending an expected appeal.

The original lawsuit was filed in 2006 by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Jewish Veterans of the United States of American and several other Southern California residents…

Bruce Bailey, president of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, expressed disappointment in the ruling.

“It is unfortunate that the Ninth Circuit left the judge no choice but to order the tearing down of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross,” Bailey told Fox News.  “However, we are grateful for the judge’s stay that gives us an opportunity to fight this all the way to the Supreme Court.”

The Mt. Soledad property was transferred from the City of San Diego to the federal government for the purpose of thwarting attempts by the ACLU and other liberal Democrat groups intent upon removing the cross. U.S. Supreme Court precedents since Justice Samuel Alito replaced Sandra Day O’Connor on the court have generally reversed the contrived “Lemon” test that weighed many factors concerning the purpose of certain acts by government as scaling the wall of the supposed “wall of separation” between church and state.

Of course, that phrase from a letter penned by Thomas Jefferson many years after the ratification of the Bill of Rights and its Establishment Clause, no where appears in the Constitution, and has been taken out of context since its first illegitimate use by Justice Hugo Black in the 1947 Everson case to deny government funds for Catholic school buses, on an equal basis with government and other religious schools. Everson is no longer the law, as the court under Chief Justice John Roberts has on many occasions ruled that the First Amendment prohibits discrimination against the religious for shared benefits and does not “establish” a religion to do so.

We expect Judge Burns’ decision to be appealed to the Ninth Circuit where it will likely be affirmed and then appealed back to the U.S. Supreme Court where the new issues will concern whether the federal government as owner or the California constitution distinguish the case from its prior rulings. Thankfully, Judge Burns issued an immediate stay preventing the removal of the cross pending appeal.

DeVine Law


Mike DeVine

Mike DeVine

Mike DeVine is a former op-ed columnist at the Charlotte Observer and legal editor of The (Decatur) Champion (legal organ of DeKalb County, Georgia). He is currently with the Ruf Law Firm in Atlanta Metro and conservative voice of the Atlanta Times News.

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