Supreme Court Will Rule on Constitutionality of War Memorial Featuring Cross

Lakewood, CO. – November 2, 2018 – The Supreme Court of the United States announced today that it will review an appeals court’s ruling that public memorials prominently featuring the image of the Cross are unconstitutional.

The case is The American Legion v. American Humanist Association (No. 17-1717). The Court will decide whether a cross-shaped World War I memorial in Bladensburg, Maryland, honoring 49 local men who gave their lives in the conflict violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Mountain States Legal Foundation wrote an amicus brief in the case on behalf of the town of Taos, New Mexico. The people of Taos have their own cross-shaped memorial honoring local soldiers—mostly Latino—who fought in the Battle of Bataan during World War II, including those who died on the Bataan Death March.

Commenting on the brief filed by MSLF, staff attorney David McDonald, who represents the Town of Taos, explained, “The people who ratified the Bill of Rights would have found the idea that a simple solemn cross honoring the nation’s war dead violated the First Amendment absurd.”

In 2017, Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation wrote the Town of Taos demanding that it move the Memorial to a “more appropriate private location” or else prepare to defend a federal lawsuit.

MSLF filed the amicus brief on behalf of the Town of Taos, encouraging the court to clarify the issue in the Maryland case, in order to ward off similar attempts by anti-religion activists to remove its own war memorial.

“The Court must rule on the issue to make clear that it is not unconstitutional for communities, like Taos, to honor their war heroes with memorials that include crosses,” said Mountain States Legal Foundation president, William Perry Pendley.

Mountain States Legal Foundation, created in 1977, is a nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system. Its offices are in suburban Denver, Colorado.