Since the denial of certiorari on Monday of the appeals court decision that the cross is unconstitutional, I've thrown myself into the issue. This has been in the courts for going on 23 years, and there are those who feel that if it can be stalled for another decade or two, perhaps they will find a new Supreme court that shares their Christian Dominionist views.
I wrote this diary yesterday about a key turning point, when a compromize had been reached only to be sabotaged by political opportunists. I've been updating my own website dedicated to this issue, updating the Wikipedia article on the person who first brought the suit to remove the cross from public land, writing to lawyers for the Jewish War Veterans and ACLU who litigated the recent suit and appeal, and exchanging emails with a columnist for the metropolitan daily Union Tribune who write this article, that described the resistance to the decision. Liinks to everything is available on the websites, Soledad Veterans Memorial
There was considerable interest in my diary yesterday so I'll continue to share what's happening. The following is from my website, updated as I get new information.
Now What-after Supreme Ct. Refuses to take case for review
June 28, 2012
Most news reports have stated that this 23 year long legal Odyssey now goes back to the federal district court, at which point if it issues an injunction to remove the existing cross, a new appeal could be filed. And the decision on this appeal could once again be submitted for review to the Supreme Court.
After a careful reading of the briefs and decisions of the district court and the court of appeals, which now stands after yesterday's Supreme Court's denial of certiorari, the mandate to change the existing monument has the force of law. Given the extensive delay in making this determination, it was obviously a seriously considered one, with the justices having a full understanding of its implications.
Given that the 9th did not explicitly overturn the taking of the property by the federal government, the obligation to redesign the memorial is incumbent on the executive branch, ultimately the President. The 9th court order for "Further proceedings consistent with this opinion" can only mean action on redesign and replacement of this memorial.
The house Republican caucus ramrodded the condemnation of the land under the memorial in order to place it under the Department of Defense*. Not a single senator, including Democrats, had the courage to vote to prevent this crass tactic from succeeding. It is now Federal Property, which makes the kind of compromise that had been agreed to by all parties in 2004, much more difficult to achieve.
The conservatives on the Supreme Court, based on the length of time in deciding to let the 9th court of appeals determination that it was unconstitutional stand, obviously wanted to endorse this symbolic proclamation that the United States of America is a Christian country. It would have taken the votes of four Justices, meaning it was at least 6 to 3 NOT to accept this case. Justice Alito's description of the tentative nature of the court's confirmation of the unconstitutionality of the single dominant cross, while an unofficial individual statement, most likely reflects the underlying view of this minority of the court. (last two pages of this report)
His lone unofficial statement provides plausible denial that this action by the Supreme court confirms that the existing configuration of the memorial is unconstitutional. While this may be simplified as another example of left vs. right, conservatives v. liberals, it is not that clear
The Obama administration brought the challenge against the 9th court of appeals decision, writing " the government would have to "tear down" the cross if the Supreme Court rejected its petition. This was the same phrase used by those who have scuttled reasonable compromise over two decades, and is a shameful mis-characterization of the actual moderate appeals decision that specifically stated that a cross could be part of a modified monument.
Meanwhile there is evidence that the sentiment of San Diego citizens is changing, based on letters to the editor of the single daily paper that are published in proportion to those expressing a common point of view. This means that a city that had voted to do everything not to follow previous court rulings to remove the cross, now favor creating a new monument by roughly 8 to 1,
*I also sent an email to the Democratic Candidate for Mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner, who is now a member of the House of Representatives who voted against the federal takeover. I told him that the vote that was unpopular then will be seen as a sign of his integrity, and he should work this into his campaign.
Let me know by your feedback whether you want to be kept up to date on this issue, and with enough interest, it will be easier to get access to those who care about public opinion.