VA Files Motion To Clarify Its Status As A Party In The Landmark Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross Case

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, on behalf of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association (MSMA), Liberty Institute filed a motion to clarify the Association’s status as a defendant in Steve Trunk, et al v. City of San Diego, et al.–the over 20-year-old legal battle to decide the fate of the historic Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross, located in San Diego, CA. During a mandatory hearing held in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California in late July, the ACLU called into question the MSMA’s future role in the case, after it was disclosed that the U.S. Department of Justice and the ACLU were engaging in settlement discussions without the MSMA’s participation. The MSMA erected the 29-ft cross to honor Korean War veterans in 1954.

Since plaintiffs sued the MSMA in 2006, courts have recognized it as both a defendant and real party in the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross case; the MSMA has participated and made court filings in the District Court, Ninth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court. In addition to filing the motion to clarify its status as a defendant, the MSMA requests that the District Court allow it to formally intervene in the case as an alternative, if necessary.

“We are confident that the Mt. Soledad’s Veterans Memorial Association’s standing as real party in the case will be confirmed, regardless of the ACLU’s tactics to silence the MSMA and exclude the veterans from discussions that will determine the fate of this Veterans Memorial,” said Jeff Mateer, General Counsel for Liberty Institute. “Through the years, the MSMA has tirelessly fought to preserve this longstanding memorial. We look forward to continuing to defend and work alongside the other parties to achieve a resolution that will preserve the memorial cross and continue to honor the selfless sacrifice and service of our nation’s veterans.”

In July following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to deny review of the case “at this time,” U.S. District Court Judge Larry Alan Burns heard arguments about MSMA’s status in the case from the MSMA, as well as from the ACLU and the DOJ. Afterward, the Court requested that the MSMA file a motion to confirm its status as a party or seek intervention.

For more than a half century, the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross has stood as a symbol of the selfless sacrifice and service of our nation’s veterans. The memorial cross is surrounded by six concentric walls with the photos, names and diverse religious symbols of members of our military who have honorably served their country.

The Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial is just one of many veterans memorials across the country under assault by the ACLU, atheist groups and their supporters. In 2009, Liberty Institute successfully represented the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) of the United States, The American Legion, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, VFW Department of California, American Ex-Prisoners of War, VFW Post 385, and retired Lt. Col. Allen R. Miliefsky, United States Air Force as amici at the Supreme Court to help save the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Cross, a World War I memorial in the Mojave National Preserve in California.

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 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

SOURCE Liberty Institute

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