This week, Liberty Institute and our volunteer attorneys filed an opening brief on behalf of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association (MSMA) in the Trunk v. United States of America and Mt. Soledad Memorial Association,which is again at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Court—after the U.S. Supreme Court denied the request by the MSMA to review early the case this past July.
“We’re continuing to fight for this veterans memorial and the selfless sacrifice and service of all the millions of veterans it represents,” said Liberty Institute President and CEO, Kelly Shackelford. “It is the least we can do for those who gave so much to us all.”
Liberty Institute’s Director of Litigation Hiram Sasser adds, “If this cross comes down, then the World War I cross memorials at Arlington National Cemetery and elsewhere will be open targets for destruction or removal.”
HISTORY ON THE HILLTOP
The Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial has stood since 1954 as a symbol of the selfless sacrifice and service of our nation’s military. Standing high on a hilltop in San Diego, California, the memorial includes a 29-foot cross with a plaque identifying it as a veterans memorial and is surrounded by eleven large granite walls that display the photos and names of our veterans, along with various and diverse religious and secular symbols. Over 3,500 Americans are honored—including presidents (Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower), generals, and men and women whose names are not familiar, but who proudly served to help preserve the freedom we enjoy as Americans.
For more than 20 years, this veterans memorial has been the subject of a lawsuit brought about by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which claims the memorial’s cross violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. Liberty Institute, and our volunteer attorney team at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, joined the fight on behalf of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association to save the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial cross in 2012, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled the cross unconstitutional.
MILESTONES IN THE ONGOING COURT BATTLE
Here are a few of the major milestones (click here for an entire list) of how Liberty Institute has ramped up the efforts in this important fight:
WHAT IT MEANS TO OUR VETERANS
The first Korean War Veterans Memorial placed on U.S. soil, the memorial’s plaques commemorate the service of veterans, living and deceased, from the Revolutionary War up to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan—and it’s the only memorial in the nation which does so. Over half of the veterans have been honored while still living, including these service members:
CARETAKERS AND DEFENDERS THWARTING DESTRUCTION
The Mt. Soledad Memorial Association is comprised of veterans, who originally erected the Veterans Memorial in 1954 and have served as caretakers of the veterans memorial for more than half a century.
Each day this case lingers unresolved, the Greatest Generation fades into history with the Memorial that honors them (and veterans of all wars) still under threat of destruction.
Liberty Institute volunteer attorney Allyson Ho, co-chair of the U.S. Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation Practice at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, serves as lead counsel for the MSMA and is leading the efforts to protect the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross.
GIVING BACK TO THOSE WHO GAVE ALL
Liberty Institute will never back down and is committed to this fight to save Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross in yet another phase of the battle. And it’s our honor to defend memorials like these for men and women who are defending our nation’s freedom both at home and abroad.
But to continue the fight—and others across our great nation—we need the continuing support of friends like you. So please donate now and help us unleash more attorneys for more cases in the church, in schools, in the public arena and in the military!
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 www.LibertyInstitute.org.