Mayor Jerry Sanders and City Attorney Mike Aguirre called Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion on the Mount Soledad Memorial case “remarkable” today.
“It is very clearly a positive opinion for the city and all of our efforts for maintaining integrity of the Mount Soledad War Memorial,” Sanders said. “[Justice Kennedy] is simply giving us a chance to be heard by all relevant courts.”
In the opinion, Kennedy concluded at least four justices would be willing to hear the case should the city lose its appeal of a federal court ruling that the cross must come down off of public land.
In May, a federal judge ordered the city to obey his 1991 ruling that found the cross’ presence unconstitutional, threatening the city with a $5,000 fine for every day the cross remained atop Mount Soledad after Aug. 1.
Kennedy ordered that pending penalty to be postponed as the city pursues appeals at the state and federal level. Kennedy wrote that if the state appellate court reverses that decision, it could “moot the District Court’s injunctions.” Furthermore, he wrote that a recent act by Congress deeming the site as a national memorial showed “evident desire” to preserve the Mount Soledad Cross.
Aguirre predicts that it will take about another year before the case is decided in the state Supreme Court. When asked about whether there are sufficient funds to see the case through, Sanders said that the city will look into private sources and volunteer attorneys.
– MARNETTE FEDERIS