The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied a hearing on the constitutionality of the Mt. Soledad veterans’ memorial cross.
“Our denial, of course, does not amount to a ruling on the merits, and the Federal Government is free to raise the same issue in a later petition following entry of a final judgment,” wrote Associate Justice Samuel Anthony Alito in his statement, which is attached to this story.
The court found that the issue was “not yet ripe for review by this Court,” because the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had remanded the case back to the U.S. District Court.
“It remains unclear precisely what action the Federal Government will be required to take,” Alito wrote.
The large white cross has stood on top of Mt. Soledad in La Jolla since 1954. The battle over its constitutionality has been waged for two decades. At issue is whether the government is conveying an endorsement of religion that violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.
Monday, U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter made the following statement about the court’s decision:
“The Supreme Court passed on an immediate opportunity to settle this issue once and for all. But, in the process, the Court continues to leave open the possibility that it will accept the case and make a constitutional determination in the future. That is good news overall.
“There are still issues that need to be settled, and this case will continue to be watched closely in the interest of preserving such a historic memorial that pays tribute to the service and sacrifice of America’s veterans.”