Thursday, April 29, 2010

Important U.S. Supreme Court Victory: Salazar v. Buono

Ted Cruz on this important Supreme Court decision:

Yesterday, by a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a 75-year-old veterans’ memorial in California’s vast Mojave Desert can remain standing. The memorial, a seven-foot metal cross, was erected in 1934 by World War I veterans to honor their fallen brethren.

This is an important victory for every veteran and every lover of liberty in America. Nothing in the Constitution supports tearing down this monument to those who gave their lives in World War I, and the Supreme Court has rightly reversed the lower-court decision that, until now, has shamefully required that the monument be covered up in a plywood box.

As Justice Kennedy powerfully observed in yesterday’s lead opinion, the Mojave Desert Memorial “evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles, battles whose tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten.”

I was deeply honored to represent over three million veterans in this case. Along with my dear friend Kelly Shackelford, we filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and the American Ex-Prisoners of War. Read our brief here.

Kelly and I also wrote a piece on the case in the Wall Street Journal, which you can read HERE.

There was much at stake in this decision. All across this nation, monuments with religious symbols memorialize fallen veterans.

The ACLU challenged the Mojave Desert Memorial. If they had won this case, veterans memorials throughout the nation would have been in jeopardy, including the crosses in Arlington National Cemetery. That is an extreme and radical view, and it is not consistent with the Constitution of the United States.

The most effective part of our brief, in my opinion, is not the legal arguments, but the appendix, which has pictures of veterans memorials throughout the world that could have been imperiled by this lawsuit. I commend you to review those pictures and reflect on the stakes of this case.

Moving forward, we will certainly face many more challenges to monuments that acknowledge or reflect our religious heritage. But yesterdays Supreme Court decision is an important step toward protecting freedom of religious expression as intended by our Founding Fathers.

Listen to this interview with NPR in which I explain this very point.

America’s veterans who have died defending our country gave their last measure of devotion to preserve our right to free speech and religious expression. We owe it to them to remain vigilant against those who would dishonor their memory.

And yesterday, the Supreme Court protected them, and remained faithful to the Constitution.

- Ted Cruz, former Texas Solicitor General

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