Thursday, December 19, 2013

Liberty Institute, Veterans Group Appeal Mt. Soledad Ruling


Liberty Institute vows to fight to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary

Yesterday, Liberty Institute and our client, the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association (MSMA), filed an appeal of last week’s district court ruling, in which a judge ordered the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross to be torn down.  Liberty Institute vows to fight this case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Along with volunteer attorneys from the top rated international law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Liberty Institute is the legal counsel in the case, representing the veterans and official caretaker of the memorial at no charge, through the generous donations of our supporters.

As the case is appealed, Liberty Institute Director of Litigation Hiram Sasser will continue to coordinate our team, which includes Allyson Ho of the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.  Ms. Ho, a former U.S. Supreme Court clerk, is one of the nation’s top appellate advocates and serves Liberty Institute as one of our key volunteer attorneys defending religious liberty.

“This appeal is just the first step toward what many believe is the ultimate destination for this case – the United States Supreme Court,” said Allyson Ho

Bruce Bailey, MSMA President and CEO, said, “The Association built this Korean War veterans memorial with support from The American Legion close to 60 years ago, and it will continue to fight to preserve it for future generations.”

Justice Samuel Alito of the U.S. Supreme Court has called this case “a question of substantial importance.”

The outcome touches thousands of other veterans memorials across the nation. If the ACLU can force the government to tear down the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross, where will they stop?

“If we fail to preserve this veterans memorial and the ACLU is successful in tearing down the oldest Korean War veterans memorial in the United States, then so too will be the fate of other veterans memorials like it, including the Canadian Cross of Sacrifice and the Argonne Cross in Arlington National Cemetery,” said Sasser.

The Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial has stood since 1954 as a symbol of the selfless sacrifice and service of our nation’s military. The memorial is a 29-foot Latin cross surrounded by six concentric walls that display the photos, names and diverse religious symbols of our veterans who paid the ultimate price for freedom.

For more than 20 years, this veterans memorial has been the subject of a prolonged lawsuit brought about by the ACLU because of the inclusion of the cross.  In January 2011, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that the cross is unconstitutional.  In June 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court denied petitions to hear oral arguments at that time. In a statement accompanying the denial, Justice Alito, however, stated that the Court’s denial was not a ruling on the merits and that the Supreme Court may reconsider the case.

Liberty Institute needs your financial support as we appeal and fight this decision.  “We are confident we can win, just as we won the Mojave Desert Memorial Cross case at the U.S. Supreme Court” said Kelly Shackelford, President and CEO of Liberty Institute.

Yet he also said, “But it will take thousands of hours and legal expenses to do so.  We depend on friends of religious liberty to make tax-deductible donations since we are a non-profit organization, take no government funds, and defend our clients at no charge.”

Thank you for your gift to keep the ACLU from tearing down the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross.

About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches, in the military and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit