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Group To Appeal Mt. Soledad Cross Ruling

A Texas-based legal foundation is scheduled to announce today it will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court an appellate court's ruling that declared the cross atop Mount Soledad unconstitutional.

The Liberty Institute will challenge the ruling issued by justices of the 9th U.S. Court of Appeal.

The land underneath the cross -- part of a memorial originally dedicated to those killed in the Korean War -- has been under federal control since 2006.

Supporters say the cross is part of a war memorial. Opponents, who plan a competing news conference at the memorial, say it unconstitutionally favors a religion while on federal property.

"This cross, which is on government and public land, has no function except to promote one brand of religion,'' said Bruce Gleason, who belongs to an Orange County group called Backyard Skeptics.

"The defenders of keeping the cross say that the cross is a war memorial, but it was not until a lawsuit against the cross for 1st Amendment violation did the defenders start promoting it as a war memorial.''

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by voice vote a bill by San Diego's Republican congressional delegation to protect religious symbols on war memorials.

The bill still has to go through the Senate and be signed by President Barack Obama before it becomes law -- and it remains unclear whether the proposed law would pass constitutional muster.


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