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Thomas More Law Center Applauds Senate Passage of Bill to Preserve the Mt. Soledad Cross and Veterans Memorial

Contact:   Charles LiMandri, West Coast Director, 858-759-9930; Jeremiah Denton, 251- 340-7347; Richard Thompson, 734-827-2001            

 

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Aug. 2 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Thomas More Law Center applauded the Senate’s swift passage last night of the Bill to Preserve the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial.  The legislation was passed unanimously and will become an important legal factor in the seventeen-year federal lawsuit by a self-proclaimed atheist to remove the 29-foot concrete cross atop Mt. Soledad.  The ACLU strongly opposed the legislation.  The cross is the centerpiece of the veterans’ memorial that currently contains over 1,700 granite plaques honoring veterans from the civil war to the current war in Iraq.

 

The legislation, which provides for the immediate acquisition of the memorial by the federal government was first introduced in the House of Representatives by Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and was overwhelmingly passed by the House 349-74 on July 19, 2006.  The Bill was transmitted to the Senate on July 20, 2006

 

“I applaud Senator Jeff Sessions for keeping the pressure on so that this Bill could swiftly move through the Senate,” said Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center.  “This is a great victory for our veterans and our fallen war heroes.”

 

Continued Thompson, “The presence of the cross atop Mt. Soledad enrages the ACLU much like a red flag waved in front of a bull.   It would be a serious mistake to think this fight is over.”

 

“The plaintiff and ACLU have already demonstrated their persistence and zeal to take down the cross and this political defeat will most likely intensify their legal efforts as they sense what they thought was sure victory slipping through their fingers.”

 

The measure was strongly supported by President Bush and now heads to the President for his signature.

 

The Law Center is directly involved in both the California appellate court and the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of San Diegans for the Mt. Soledad National War Memorial, the organization that played a major role in the hugely successful petition drive to transfer the land on which the memorial sits to the federal government.

 

The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan has been fighting to save the cross since 2004, when it received information that the City of San Diego and the memorial association operating the site were about to agree to settle the fifteen year lawsuit by agreeing to remove the cross

 

Rear Admiral Jeremiah Denton USN (Ret.), a member of the Law Center’s Citizens Advisory Board, a Vietnam POW and former U. S. Senator from Alabama, played an instrumental role in obtaining political support in Washington for the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial.

 

Charles LiMandri, San Diego attorney and west coast director of the Thomas More Law Center who is spearheading the legal defense of the cross commented, “Legal attacks on the Mt. Soledad Cross will continue in both the federal and California courts.  Clearly, Senate passage of this legislation will greatly assist us in these court battles.” 

 

In addition to the Thomas More Law Center, a number of organizations have joined the fight to keep the cross, including the California Department of the American Legion represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, the American Center for Law and Justice which filed an amicus brief on behalf of several Congressmen, and the American Family Association.

 

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life through education, litigation, and related activities.  It does not charge for its services.  The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization.  You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at www.thomasmore.org.