(Washington, DC) – The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional law, has filed an amicus brief representing 13 members of Congress urging the Supreme Court to take a California case involving the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial – and keep the memorial – which includes a commemorative cross – in place in San Diego.
In the latest chapter in a quarter century legal battle seeking to remove the memorial’s commemorative cross, a federal court in December 2013 ordered that the memorial’s cross must come down, in light of a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit declaring the memorial unconstitutional.
The ACLJ’s amicus brief, posted here, urges the high court to take the case and keep the memorial in place.
“It is time for the Supreme Court to put this issue to rest once and for all,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, which has been active for years in defending the constitutionality of the memorial and its cross. “There is nothing unconstitutional about the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial. It is consistent with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. And, it has been part of the historic landscape of San Diego for a century.”
In its amicus brief to the Supreme Court backing a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari, the ACLJ notes that since the Ninth Circuit appeals court has already issued an opinion in this case, it is appropriate and necessary for the high court to accept the case and settle this dispute. The brief argues:
“Granting certiorari at this juncture is appropriate because any further proceedings before the Ninth Circuit would be futile. That court has already concluded that the Mt. Soledad cross constitutes an impermissible endorsement of religion and has denied a petition for rehearing en banc with respect to this conclusion. The certiorari petition, moreover, raises issues of imperative public importance in light of Congress’ desire to preserve a veterans’ memorial that originated over a century ago. . . . The federal government’s operation of the Memorial is constitutionally sound and the Ninth Circuit’s decision should be reversed.”
As the ACLJ has stated on numerous occasions, the decision ordering the removal of the memorial is deeply flawed and runs counter to Supreme Court precedent.
Sekulow added: “The Supreme Court has concluded in the past that ‘a Latin cross is not merely a reaffirmation of Christian beliefs. It is a symbol often used to honor and respect those whose heroic acts, noble contributions, and patient striving help secure an honored place in history for this Nation and its people.’ We’re hopeful the high court will take this case and determine that this historic memorial should remain in place.”
In its friend-of-the-court brief, the ACLJ represents itself and 13 members of Congress: United States Representatives Duncan Hunter, Randy Forbes, Rob Bishop, Michael Conaway, Jeff Duncan, Vicky Hartzler, Tim Huelskamp, Bill Johnson, Walter Jones, Mike Kelly, James Lankford, Jeff Miller, and Lynn Westmoreland – currently serving members of the 113th Congress.
The brief was also joined by Advocates for Faith and Freedom, a California-based law firm dedicated to protecting religious liberty and family values.
Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C.
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