The legal groundwork is being laid to continue the challenge to a court’s ruling that the city must remove the Mount Soledad Cross from public property by Aug. 2 or face $5,000-a-day fines.

On Wednesday, the city filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals to suspend the judge’s decision so that the city can continue its appeal of both federal and state rulings that found the cross’ location on public land to be unconstitutional. And on Monday, the city will file an appeal to the federal judge’s May ruling that the city must remove the cross by Aug. 2 because it violates the separation between church and state.

Joined by City Attorney Mike Aguirre, Mayor Jerry Sanders said the city will ask the court to decide on the stay by July 5 so that it can plan accordingly. Aguirre was pessimistic on the outcome of the court filings, but said he had the duty to follow the expressed will of voters.

Sanders was more upbeat, saying he wasn’t willing to concede defeat yet in the 17-year legal battle.

The mayor said the city will comply with the court ruling if the stay and appeal are unsuccessful. He is not willing to disobey the court and incur the daily fines.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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