Judge Calls the Mt. Soledad Cross Unconstitutional

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    James Ballard
    Painters have given the Mount Soledad cross its first paint job in more than 40 years.

    A judge has ruled the 43-foot high cross atop Mount Soledad is unconstitutional.

    In a long awaited opinion, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday, that cross is unconstitutional, but that it doesn't need to be taken down.
     
    Justice M. Margaret McKeown says the cross is a violation, but that doesn't mean it can't be modified or that a cross cannot be part of the memorial.

    "By claiming to honor all service members with a symbol that is intrinsically connected to a particular religion, the government sends an implicit message to nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community," McKeown wrote in the 50 page ruling.

    She went on to write, "We conclude that the Memorial, presently configured and as a whole, primarily conveys a message of government endorsement of religion that violates the Establishment Clause. This result does not mean that the Memorial could not be modified to pass constitutional muster nor does it mean that no cross can be part of this veterans’ memorial. We take no position on those issues."

    The ruling reversed a 2008 decision that the cross is part of a larger war memorial honoring veterans and serves as a symbol of service.