San Diego Cross Boosters Lose Round in Court

A federal appeals court said Oct. 14 that it won’t review a lower court decision holding that a large cross atop Mount Soledad in San Diego, Calif., is unconstitutional.

The cross had been at the center of controversy for 20 years, and a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held in January that it constituted government favoritism toward religion because it is on public land.

Proponents of the cross were not pleased with the appeals court’s decision not to review the case.

Charles LiMandri, a San Diego attorney who has long supported the cross, said the decision sets the stage for a U.S. Supreme Court review. He speculated that five or six of the current justices would support leaving the cross where it is.

“We want to get this to the court before anybody retires,” LiMandri said, according to an Oct. 14 article in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

But those who want the cross removed support the decision not to review the Jewish War Veterans v. City of San Diego case.

“We don’t think the government should be in the business of religion,” David Blair-Loy, legal director for the ACLU in San Diego, told the Union-Tribune. “As far as we’re concerned, it just affirms the proper result.”