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Mojave Desert Cross settlement approved

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Mojave Desert Cross settlement approved

The 11-year battle over the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial removal and transfer has come to an end.

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California approved and signed a settlement agreement between the Department of Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to exchange one acre of land at Sunrise Rock for a donated object of equal value. The original memorial site on Sunrise Rock will move to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 385E in Barstow, Calif., so the post can restore the memorial.

Litigation surrounding the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial has been ongoing since March 2001, when a lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, arguing that the display of a cross in the memorial violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In April 2010, the Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision, sending the case back to the district court to reconsider the land exchange. Had the Supreme Court not reversed the decision, the 7-foot-tall cross, which has been honoring veterans for 78 years, could have been removed.

The National Park Service will oversee the land exchange completed before the end of the year. Once complete, the National Park Service will install a privacy fence around the land, while the Liberty Institute and the VFW hall plan to host a ceremony, rededicating the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial.

Liberty Institute - a nonprofit organization that works to educate, advocate and, when necessary, litigate for freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution such as freedom of speech and religion - has played a significant role in the 11-year Mojave Veterans Memorial battle. Liberty Institute filed briefs on behalf of The American Legion and other organizations in the Mojave Desert Cross case, as well as similar cases across the country. The American Legion has been a strong supporter of the cross as well, filing crucial amicus (friend-of-the-court) briefs in favor of the cross staying put. Read the amicus briefs here.

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Freethinker

April 27, 2012 - 11:33am

This is a victory for those of us who swore to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States. We are a nation of laws and people cannot pick and choose which they want to abide by, and which to ignore.

hollandartworks

April 26, 2012 - 11:52pm

yes i noticed the cross in the rock look to the right of it there is a bear,on top to the left of the cross to be taking down there is a nother bear with a mans face looking on to the bear , as i was a small boy playing in the smokey mountains the bear was a symbol of gods spirit of pertaction

hollandartworks

April 26, 2012 - 11:51pm

yes i noticed the cross in the rock look to the right of it there is a bear,on top to the left of the cross to be taking down there is a nother bear with a mans face looking on to the bear , as i was a small boy playing in the smokey mountains the bear was a symbol of gods spirit of pertaction

M Diede

April 26, 2012 - 10:43pm

I don't know if anyone noticed, but if you look down and slightly to the right in the photo, there is a cross in the rock formation. I suppose that will be the next thing the ACLU is going to have a fit about. Don't understand why they're so afraid of a cross.

SteveDWin

April 28, 2012 - 6:21pm

Noone was afraid of the cross. It was the people who put the cross there that were afraid and opposed to a statue of buddha being placed there.

hollandartworks

April 27, 2012 - 12:22am

yes i noticed the cross in the rock look to the right of it there is a bear,on top to the fore left rock of the cross to be taking down there is another bear with a mans face looking on to the bear the bear is laying down between the bears face and the mans face there is a bear cub face , as i was a small boy playing in the smokey mountains the bear was a symbol of gods spirit of protection

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