Appeals Court Declines to Re-Hear Appeal
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FIVE COURT OF APPEALS JUDGES SAY NINTH CIRCUIT DECISION WRONG
Overseers of War Memorial Plan Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court
SAN DIEGO, October 17, 2011 – The full Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declined to review or reverse the Ninth Circuit panel decision calling for the removal of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial cross, a monument that has stood in San Diego honoring American soldiers for more than 56 years.
“Although we are disappointed that the Ninth Circuit denied requests to have the full court rehear this case, we are encouraged that five of the judges agree with us and believe the cross should stay,” said Kelly Shackelford, Esq., president of Liberty Institute and attorney for the Mount Soledad Memorial Association which oversees the monument. “With this encouragement and the recent ruling in favor of the Mojave Veterans Memorial, we plan to appeal to The Supreme Court.”
Represented by Liberty Institute and Morgan Lewis, the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association filed a motion in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last April asking the full court to rehear the case following a panel ruling in January that declared the veterans memorial unconstitutional. The U.S. Department of Justice also filed a request for rehearing.
“People want this veterans memorial to remain as it is, from the thousands who visit it each month to honor our nation’s veterans, to the 76 percent of San Diegans who voted to give it to the Federal Government as a national veterans’ memorial,” said Col. Bruce S. Bailey, USAF (Ret), president of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, which oversees the memorial. “The Mt. Soledad Memorial Association is committed to preserving this veterans memorial so that future generations will also know the cost of freedom.”
The Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial consists of six concentric walls with plaques honoring more than 2,800 veterans, brick steps, and a cross, which has been the target of litigation for the past 22 years because it sits upon government property.
Liberty Institute is a non-profit legal firm and policy organization dedicated to protecting First Amendment freedoms. The group also represented 4 million veterans of Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart in an effort to protect the Mojave Desert War Memorial from being torn down by the ACLU, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled should stand. Visit www.LibertyInstite.org for more information.