|Supporters of a war memorial cross deemed unconstitutional last year by a federal court plan to ask the Supreme Court to reverse the decision, amid a growing fight nationwide over the use of religious symbols to honor fallen troops.
A nonprofit legal firm, Liberty Institute in Dallas, planned to file its petition Thursday to preserve the 43-foot monument on federal land atop San Diego's Mt. Soledad — the same day the group called on combat veterans and supporters to rally at the picturesque site overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the suburb of La Jolla.
The Supreme Court has signaled a greater willingness to allow religious symbols on public land, and the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill last month that writes into law the propriety of displaying such markers at war memorials.
Last year's ruling by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals capped two decades of legal challenges over the 1954 cross that became a memorial to Korean War veterans.
A number of other military memorials on public lands across the country have been challenged in recent years by civil liberty activists and atheists who say they violate the separation between church and state. The Supreme Court in 2010 refused to order the removal of a congressionally endorsed war memorial cross from its longtime home atop a remote rocky outcropping in California's Mojave Desert.