Mojave Desert Cross Case

On October 7, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Salazar v. Buono, an ACLU case about a Latin cross on federal government land.

The Justices focused on whether the government continued to violate the Establishment Clause by designating the cross as a national memorial, transferring a small parcel of land under the cross to a private party, and retaining the right to take back the land if the private party does not maintain the memorial.

Click here to read the ACLU’s brief on the case.

The issue is familiar to San Diego residents, who have watched a similar constitutional challenge being waged over the Latin cross atop Mount Soledad in La Jolla.

For years the Mount Soleded cross sat on city land, but after years of litigation and in the face of a court-order to remove it, the city transferred the land to the U.S. Department of Defense as a war memorial. The ACLU contends that the cross is no less unconstitutional sitting on federal land than it was on city-owned land. The case is making its way through the courts.

David Blair-Loy, San Diego ACLU’s legal director, commented to the San Diego Union-Tribune on the similarities and differences between Salazar and Jewish War Veterans v. Gates, the ACLU-San Diego’s Mount Soledad cross case.

Soledad Cross History

Soledad Cross History current.pdf