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Mount Soledad Cross Dispute Far From Over

Evening Edition

Aired 12/16/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUESTS

Dan Eaton, SD attorney with Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek

Bruce Bailey, president of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association

Transcript

Widget

Mt Soledad Cross Timeline

The long dispute over a cross on top of Mount Soledad in La Jolla could be entering its final phase.

A federal judge ruled last Thursday that the cross is unconstitutional and should be removed.

San Diego District Court Judge Larry Burns ruled to uphold a 2011 ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that found that the memorial site violated the First Amendment of the Constitution.

The 2011 ruling by the 9th Circuit Court overturned a 2008 decision by Judge Burns.

Legal analyst Dan Eaton said "in reversing Judge Burns’s earlier order and returning the case to him, the 9th Circuit did not say specifically what had to happen next, such as whether the cross had to come down."

"The 9th Circuit asked Judge Burns to consider whether the site could be modified to pass constitutional muster. That’s what he did in ordering last week that the cross must come down within 90 days of his order."

The Mount Soledad Memorial Association will appeal the ruling.

In a statement released Friday, Memorial Association President Bruce Bailey said “It's unfortunate that the 9th Circuit left the judge no choice but to order the tearing down of the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross.

“However, we are grateful for the judge’s stay that gives us an opportunity to fight this all the way to Supreme Court."

Jeff Wergeles, deputy director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial counties, said the site’s distinction as a memorial means it should be free of religious icons.

“On church property or someone’s backyard, that’s perfectly wonderful. But if we’re celebrating all service people who have fought under our flag, we should have something nonsecular,” Wergeles said.

Wergeles said the legal battle over the cross could go on for up to three years. The cross will stay on Mount Soledad until the fight is settled.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Anon11'

Anon11 | December 16, 2013 at 1:16 p.m. ― 9 months ago

Thanks for shoving your religion in my face on my dime. Put up a flag in its place already.

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Avatar for user 'pumaman'

pumaman | December 19, 2013 at 7:10 a.m. ― 9 months ago

As a proud American veteran and atheist, I'll be pleased when this divisive and unconstitutional cross finally comes down. Next to go will be the cross on Battle Mountain in Rancho Bernardo, also on city property.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | December 19, 2013 at 9:11 a.m. ― 9 months ago

Oh I just love seeing people get so upset about something that doesn't matter at all. I am more concerned about things like 1 foot deep potholes, trigger happy cops, and our slow slide into socialism. But nope, lets use 100% of our energy on something that has zero bearing on our daily lives instead.

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Avatar for user 'Anon11'

Anon11 | December 19, 2013 at 10:09 a.m. ― 9 months ago

"slow slide into socialism"

We're already heavily socialized.
http://i.imgur.com/Aic2o.png

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | December 19, 2013 at 12:57 p.m. ― 9 months ago

“However, we are grateful for the judge’s stay that gives us an opportunity to fight this all the way to Supreme Court." - Mount Soledad Memorial Association

===

This isn't a stay to give the Memorial Association another pointless opportunity waste time and money to continue violating the Constitution.

It is an order to remove the cross by March 12th. Heavily fine them for each day the cross remains up past that date.

The dispute is OVER.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | December 19, 2013 at 2:38 p.m. ― 9 months ago

Just break one of the arms off the cross then people will stop whining about it.

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Avatar for user 'Alex_Grebenshchikov'

Alex_Grebenshchikov | December 19, 2013 at 4:17 p.m. ― 9 months ago

If they painted it the colors of the gay rainbow, that cross would never come down since the LGBT community gets whatever special treatment they want every time they start whining and throwing a big fit and calling everyone hateful.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | December 19, 2013 at 6:13 p.m. ― 9 months ago

Just break one of the arms off the cross then people will stop whining about it.

==

Ha! Then turn it upside down, replant it in the ground and you have a big "L" for La Jolla.

Perfect!

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Avatar for user 'pumaman'

pumaman | December 19, 2013 at 6:28 p.m. ― 9 months ago

The mayor of a small town actually took one of the arms off a cross that was on a water tower in his town to avoid a lawsuit, and instead of taking the entire thing down.

http://www.wbbjtv.com/news/local/MayorHasArmOfWhitevilleCrossRemoved-132748753.html

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