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U.S. Justice Department: Mt. Soledad Memorial Cross Should Stay

Photo by Nicholas McVicker / KPBS

Above: Navy Veteran Jim Wall climbs the stairs at Mt. Soledad on February 15th, 2014.

The U.S. Justice Department says a war memorial cross should remain on federal property atop a San Diego mountain but disagrees with cross supporters that the appeal should go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a briefing filed to the Supreme Court, the administration of President Barack Obama explains why the 43-foot monument on Mount Soledad shouldn't be removed. It rejects arguments that the 60-year-old cross represents a violation of the constitutional separation between church and state.

But the Justice Department says the appeal should be heard by the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals because there is no imminent risk of the cross being removed.

Last month, the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association asked to leapfrog the appeals court and go straight to nation's highest court.   

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