SAN DIEGO, CA, July 4, 2006 (  – The U.S. Supreme Court intervened Monday to save the 43-foot cross, the centerpiece of a national veterans memorial, atop of Mt. Soledad in San Diego California. A lower court judge had ordered the City of San Diego to remove the cross by August 1st or face fines of $5,000 a day thereafter.

  However, after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to stay the lower court order, the Thomas More Law Center filed an emergency application for stay on behalf of San Diegans for the Mt. Soledad National War Memorial, the organization that spearheaded the highly successful referendary petition drive that kept the cross from being removed in 2005. The Emergency Application For Stay was filed with Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who issued Monday’s stay order.  The Thomas More Law Center is a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

  Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel for the Thomas More Law Center commented, “This is great news for our veterans and fallen war heroes on this Fourth of July eve.”

  The Law Center’s emergency application explained that this case presents a serious question regarding the place of religious symbols in the public life of our nation.

  Robert Muise, the Law Center Trial Counsel who authored the emergency application, also argued that the Mt. Soledad Cross case would give the Court an opportunity to revisit its Establishment Clause jurisprudence,  which many on the Court have noted is in need of substantial revision.  Muise explained, “It would be a national tragedy to tear down the memorial cross. It would cause irreparable harm to the citizens of San Diego, and the many family members, friends, and comrades of the nearly two thousand veterans who are honored by this memorial for their sacrificial service to this country.”

  Charles LiMandri, the West Coast Regional Director for the Thomas More Law Center, whose office is located in San Diego, commented, “Justice Kennedy’s order granting a stay is great news. The Mt. Soledad Cross and Memorial represents the sacrifices our veterans and their families have made and the gratitude that we, as a community and a nation, have for them.”

  The Supreme Court normally considers three factors when deciding whether to grant a stay, namely, whether there is a reasonable probability that four Members of the Court will consider the issue sufficiently meritorious to grant certiorari, whether there is a fair prospect that five justices will conclude that the case was erroneously decided and whether there is likely irreparable damage if the stay is denied.

  Justice Kennedy also granted the City of San Diego’s application for a stay. The City had previously indicated that unless the legal situation changed, it would comply with the lower court order to remove the cross.

  In addition to the numerous legal steps the Law Center is taking to prevent removal of the memorial cross by August 1st, the Law Center is also asking all Americans to join in the effort to urge President Bush to immediately use the federal powers of eminent domain to take the land on which the cross and memorial sit by signing a petition to the President contained on its website at: