SAN DIEGO (AP) – The city plans to petition the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to keep a giant cross standing on municipal property, the city attorney said Thursday.
The city wants the high court to review a federal appeals court decision that affirmed a May ruling that ordered the city to remove the cross or be fined $5,000 a day.
The May ruling found that the city was demonstrating an unconstitutional endorsement of one religion over another by maintaining the 29-foot hilltop cross in a municipal park.
The cross was dedicated in 1954 as a memorial to Korean War veterans, and a private association maintains a veterans memorial on the land surrounding it. It sits atop Mount Soledad in La Jolla.
Mayor Jerry Sanders has argued that the cross is an integral part of the memorial and deserves the same exemptions to government-maintained religious symbols as those granted to other war monuments.
The high court had declined to hear the cross case once before, in 2003.
The fight has wound through several courts since a lawsuit was filed by an atheist in 1989.
Sanders has said he would obey the court order to spare his cash-strapped city from paying fines.