Charlie Butts – OneNewsNow – 4/28/2010 9:20:00 AM
The Supreme Court has said a federal court went too far in ordering the removal of a congressionally endorsed war memorial cross from its longtime home in California.
In ruling the cross could stay, the justices said federal judges in California did not take sufficient notice of the government’s decision to transfer the land in a remote area of California to private ownership. The move was designed to eliminate any constitutional concern about a religious symbol on public land. The ruling was 5-4, with the court’s conservatives in the majority. (See earlier story)
Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute is delighted with the decision, saying it addresses a crucial issue “on whether or not the government is going to allow individuals and others [to use religious symbols] to recognize those who’ve died in the service of our country….”
Dacus points out that the use of religious symbols has been a part of the nation’s history and a practice that has been long accepted in the past — and he is pleased that the high court has not deviated from precedent.
With the permission of Congress, the federal land the cross sits on was turned over to private parties. That fact, says Dacus, was a critical factor in the court’s decision.
“The fact that that [land transfer] did occur is such that this court was correct in that you can’t have a federal endorsement if the land is not federal property any longer — and that’s what this case hinged on,” says the attorney.
Because lower courts held the cross to be unconstitutional, it had been encased in a wooden box — pending a final ruling — so people could not see it.