Judge: Take Down San Diego War Cross

But Supreme Court appeal may change things
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2013 10:42 AM CST

A giant cross that's stood on a San Diego mountain for decades may not dot Mount Soledad for many more. A judge has ruled the 43-foot national war memorial cross violates the separation of church and state and needs to be removed within 90 days—once all appeals are exhausted, that is. But since the cross's supporters plan to petition the Supreme Court, it won't be going away too quickly, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Justices already refused to hear the case once, sending it to the lower courts, but did leave open the option of a later review of the decades-long legal battle.

The cross sits on federal land, after being transferred out of the city's ownership in 2005 to avoid the cross being removed under court order. Alternatives to taking it down, like putting up signs that the cross—erected in 1954 as a "gleaming white symbol of Christianity," KGTV reports—is not an endorsement of Christianity, were bounced around before a ruling was made, but surprisingly, both sides seem happy with the result. "I'm somewhat upbeat about this," says a lawyer who fought for the cross to remain standing, noting the decision moves the case closer to a final decision from the Supreme Court. "Believe me, we've had darker days." (Read more memorial stories.)

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