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 judgement," 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," wrote Alito.
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.
Congressman Brian Bilbray, who represents the 50th District, including La Jolla, gave this statement Monday:
"The lawsuit against the Mount Soledad War Memorial is an insult to our veterans and their service. I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has decided not to hear our case considering the number of religious symbols that exist on government properties throughout the country; most notably the ones displayed in the House of Representatives."
Rep. Bilbray was the original author of the bill to save the memorial. He also signed on to the amicus brief in support of the memorial.
"I intend to work with my colleagues to promote religious tolerance and find a way to defend this beloved memorial that has served as a symbol of sacrifice for San Diego's veterans for nearly 100 years," he expressed in his statement.
U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter, (52nd District) who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement after the Supreme Court decided not to immediately consider the constitutionality of the cross:
"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,” Hunter wrote.