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Will Battle Over Mount Soledad Cross Continue In Supreme Court?

Above: The Mt. Soledad Cross and Veterans Memorial is pictured in this undated photo.

Aired 6/11/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Dan Eaton, is a San Diego attorney with Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek

Keith Taylor is past president of the San Diego Association for Rational Inquiry



Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion on Paulson v. City of San Diego

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce soon whether it will hear the decades-old case on the Mount Soledad cross. The issue involves religious symbols on public land.

But San Diego attorney Dan Eaton told KPBS Midday Edition we've been here before.

"Six years ago to the day, Justice Anthony Kennedy issued a ruling staying or suspending an order by a San Diego federal judge that would have fined the city of San Diego $5,000 for every day the cross remained up. So that was really the first major time the court got involved," he said.

Last year, the Ninth Circuit Court found that placing the cross on government land was unconstitutional. But supporters of the cross appealed to the Supreme Court.

"And now we're back to the future," Eaton said. "We are back to the Supreme Court again deciding whether the court will consider the Ninth Circuit ruling."

A flurry of headline-making decisions are expected soon from the Supreme Court. Decisions on health care reform and Arizona's SB-1070 may be released as soon as next week.

All of these Supreme Court issues take place against a backdrop of increased public skepticism toward the court.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 11, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

Do people actually believe that this cross is harming them in some way? They are being so childish. Just ignore it if you don't like it.

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Avatar for user 'jv333'

jv333 | June 20, 2012 at 5:07 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

I wonder how most would feel if there was a Buddha, or symbol from Islam, or star of David or some other religious symbol ... we have a First Amendment which asserts that no religion should be promoted on public land. I read the decision by Judge Irving years ago and it made sense. I can see that the cross may have some merit as an historical landmark. I'm not sure if that argument had ever been made.

Even if the war memorial was never constructed...the cross on its own with the daunting fence of wrought iron spikes around it seemed a bit daunting. Probably to ward off vandals or taggers; but a sad's a religious symbol; but don't get too close or you can get impaled on the fence (which actually happened to a high school student many years ago)...thru the thigh, if my memory serves me.

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Avatar for user 'Flagsrus'

Flagsrus | March 12, 2014 at 10:08 p.m. ― 3 years ago

For the high light of the centennial celebration, replace the Mt Soledad cross with the biggest flag the US has ever know and the tallest flagpole the world has ever known. No one can argue against the US Flag

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