.- The Thomas More Law Center has filed a 49-page brief in the California appellate court, challenging a state judgeâs ruling that a 43-foot cross in a war memorial must be removed.
The cross has stood atop San Diegoâs Mt. Soledad for the last 50 years. But federal district court Judge Gordon Thompson ordered the City of San Diego on May 3rd to remove the cross within 90 days or face fines of $5,000 per day thereafter.
Judge Thompsonâs ruling ignored the results of a special election held in July 2005, in which 76 percent of San Diego voters approved that the municipality transfer the land to the federal government as a national memorial.
A motion to expedite the appeal in an attempt to have the issue decided before the 90-day deadline was also filed. If the appeal is successful, the Mt. Soledad Cross and national memorial would be transferred to the federal government. Such a transfer would moot the federal court order, which is based on a finding that the cross on city property violates the California Constitution.
The Law Center has also filed a motion to intervene in the federal district court case on behalf of San Diegans for the Mount Soledad National War Memorial and to seek a stay on his order.
Additionally, Law Center attorneys are discussing the possibility of White House intervention with Department of Justice attorneys, whereby President Bush would take the Mt. Soledad Veterans memorial under the federal governmentâs power of eminent domain.
In order to preserve the memorial intact, in 2004, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating the memorial a national veterans memorial and authorizing that a donation of the memorial and surrounding property be accepted from the city of San Diego.