Sep 8, 2004 / 22:00 pm
The West Coast regional office of the Thomas More Law Center has filed a brief in federal court, challenging a planned attempt to remove a 43-foot cross that has stood atop Mount Soledad in San Diego for the last 50 years. The cross is part of a memorial that honors veterans of World War I and II and the Korean War.
The Mt. Soledad Memorial Association’s effort to remove the cross is part of a private deal to settle a 15-year lawsuit brought by an atheist against the City of San Diego. The Law Center’s brief was filed on behalf of a former Navy fighter pilot, who is enlisting the support of other veterans to oppose the removal of the cross.
Atheist Phillip Paulsen filed suit in 1989 and the court ordered the City to remove the cross. In response, the City chose to place the property up for sale, but the sale was ruled unconstitutional after Paulson objected because he believed the sale indirectly aided preserving the cross.
The City of San Diego attempted a second time to sell the property in 1998, this time to the Mt. Soledad War Memorial Association. The second sale was also challenged, but originally upheld before being overturned by an en banc panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.