An individual from San Diego who is "discomfited" over a veterans' memorial has prompted the American Civil Liberties Union to renew its attack on the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial.
The Thomas More Law Center said yesterday it is preparing to defend the cross memorial from a new attack by the ACLU, this time in U.S. District Court in California.
A 17-year-long battle apparently reached a conclusion earlier this month when Congress approved and President Bush signed legislation giving ownership and control of the memorial to the federal government. That essentially should have ended a state case over the monument that had been pending in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals because the federal government is not subject to the state statutes at issue.
However, Law Center President Richard Thompson said the attack has been renewed in the federal courts, with the ACLU's recent filing, which seeks the removal of the memorial's cross.
"The very freedoms that these veterans died to protect are being perverted by the ACLU and used to deprive them and their grieving friends, families and comrades the honor and solace they deserve," said Thompson.
The earlier state claim identified the city of San Diego as defendant, Thompson said. The new lawsuit names Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and was filed on behalf of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, a Jewish doctor who served two years in the Navy, his Muslim wife who came to this country four years ago, and an individual resident of San Diego.
That person, the lawsuit said, bears the burden of being "discomfited" by the memorial.
The legal situation is being reviewed, Thompson said.
"We won't let the ACLU destroy this country and dishonor our war veterans," he said.
The case has been pending for years. Then in 2004, Congress passed and the president signed into law federal legislation designating the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial "a national memorial honoring veterans of the United States Armed Forces."
A subsequent special election in July 2005 saw the citizens of San Diego vote overwhelmingly � 76 percent � in favor of donating the memorial property to the federal government for use as a national veterans memorial.
But a California superior court judge stopped the transfer, saying it violated the state constitution.
Then this month, President Bush signed new federal legislation, which immediately "vested in the United States all right, title, and interest in and to, and the right to immediate possession of, the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial."
The Law Center said the purpose of this legislation was to preserve the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial, including its centerpiece memorial cross, which has been in its present location since 1954, for future generations of Americans.
"While our brave servicemen and women are fighting on foreign soil to protect our freedoms, the ACLU is destroying our Constitution and the freedoms it represents in the courts of this country," said Charles LiMandri, the West Coast Regional Director for the Law Center.