U.S. Supreme Court clears way for California to remove large cross
The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a ruling that a large Christian cross as part of a war memorial in California violated the constitutional ban on government endorsement of religion.
The justices rejected an appeal on Monday by the Obama administration and by an association that erected the cross arguing the government should not be forced to take down the memorial cross that stood atop Mount Soledad in San Diego since 1954 to honor veterans.
The case involved whether a religious symbol can be prominently displayed on public land and whether the cross violated the U.S. Constitution’s requirement on church-state separation.
The Supreme Court has been closely divided and has struggled for years to come up with clear rules on what religious displays, ranging from crosses to the Ten Commandments, can be put on public property, along with secular items.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that a federal judge erred by ordering the removal of a large Christian cross as part of a war memorial in a remote part of the California desert. But that ruling did not decide the constitutionality of the cross.
The 43-foot high San Diego cross is surrounded by walls displaying granite plaques that commemorate veterans or veterans groups. Located between the Pacific Ocean and an interstate highway, it can be seen for miles.