A 43 foot tall cross that stands atop Mt. Soledad in San Diego, California, must be removed, according to the latest judgement in a legal battle that has lasted more than a decade.
The cross, erected in 1954 as part of a memorial for Korean War veterans, was first contested in 1959. The suit was brought by a pair of Vietnam veterans, who felt that the cross violated a clause in California’s constitution that states there will be no preference shown for any religion by the government. Since then, the battle against the cross on public land has passed hands to the ACLU, fighting on behalf of the Jewish Veterans of the United States of America, and finally, in 2011, atheist Steve Trunk.
Courts have ruled in multiple cases that religious symbols on public land may indicate a government establishment of that religion as preferred over others, and after fourteen years of back-and-forth legal battles, including attempts by the city to sell the land, it seems that the same conclusion has been reached in this case.
Unless there is yet another appeal, the cross must be removed within 90 days from the ruling.
The judge who has ruled it so is in fact the same judge who first ruled, years ago, that the cross should stay. U.S. District Judge Larry Burns now says that because the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled otherwise, he must do so too.
As the Supreme Court declined to hear further appeals regarding the cross in June of 2012, this battle may be coming to a close soon.