Today, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland ruled that the historic Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial, built in the shape of a cross, is constitutional and may continue to stand where it was erected in 1925. Read the Court’s decision.
The veterans memorial was erected 90 years ago by a local post of The American Legion, the largest veterans service organization in the country with approximately 2.2 million members. The memorial honors 49 men of Prince George’s County who gave their lives during the First World War. It stands in Veterans Memorial Park in the immediate vicinity of memorials to those who served in the War of 1812, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, as well as a memorial to the fallen of September 11, 2001.The monument came under attack last year when a humanist group filed a lawsuit to have the memorial declared unconstitutional and either demolished, altered or removed.
Law firms Jones Day and Liberty Institute intervened in the lawsuit on behalf of The American Legion and filed a motion for summary judgment asking the court to uphold the Memorial as constitutional. Today’s ruling by the Court granted the motion and found the Memorial was well within the bounds of the First Amendment.
Noel Francisco, lead counsel for the American Legion and chair of Jones Day’s Government Regulation Practice, says, “We are grateful that the Court ruled in our favor and upheld the memorial’s lawfulness under the First Amendment. This memorial has stood for almost 100 years in honor of the fallen and should be allowed to stand for 100 more.” Kelly Shackelford, President and CEO of Liberty Institute, says, “This victory sets an important precedent. It not only affirms the Bladensburg Memorial will remain in its place of honor but helps ensure that all the nation’s veterans memorials, and the veterans they honor, will be protected.”
About First Liberty Institute
First Liberty Institute is the largest nonprofit legal organization in the nation dedicated solely to defending religious liberty in America. Liberty Institute defends religious freedom for all. To arrange an interview on this case, contact Kassie Dulin, Director of Legal Communications for Liberty Institute. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Direct: 972-941-9575, Cell: 214-542- 4334.