WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to decide whether a 40-foot cross on state property in suburban Maryland violates the First Amendment’s ban on government establishment of religion.
The case will give the court an opportunity to clarify its famously confused jurisprudence on government entanglement with religion. It will also allow the justices to continue a discussion about the meaning of crosses used in war memorials.
The cross at issue sits at a busy intersection in Bladensburg, Md., and commemorates 49 soldiers from Prince George’s County who died in World War I. It was built in 1925 using contributions from local families and the American Legion.
The state took over the monument and the land under it in 1961. Since then, the state has spent more than $117,000 to maintain and repair the memorial.