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June 20, 2019

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Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Steve Marshall
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
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Alabama Attorney General

Attorney General Steve Marshall Praises U.S. Supreme Court Decision Declaring
Cross on State Property Constitutional

(MONTGOMERY) – Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall praised a U.S. Supreme
Court decision today upholding the constitutionality of a World War I memorial in the
shape of a cross.

On Wednesday, the high court voted 7-2 that a 40-foot cross erected in 1925 to honor
fallen World War I soldiers from a Maryland community does not violate the U.S.
Constitution’s Establishment Clause.

“I applaud the Supreme Court’s strong ruling in American Legion v. American Humanist
Association that a cross in a public memorial setting is not a violation of the
Constitution’s prohibition on the government establishing an official religion,” said
Attorney General Marshall.

“Alabama joined an amicus brief in support of the continued display of the ‘Peace
Cross’ memorial in Bladensburg, Maryland, because many hundreds of similar public
monuments and memorials across our land stand as both pillars of respect to the fallen
and important symbols of our country’s history and traditions. As Justice Thomas
noted in his concurrence, the American Humanist Association failed to demonstrate
‘that maintaining a religious display on public property shares any of the historical
characteristics of an establishment of religion. . . . Instead, the [state’s park and
planning] commission has done something that the founding generation, as well as the
generation that ratified the Fourteenth Amendment, would have found commonplace:
displaying a religious symbol on government property.'”

The Supreme Court’s decision today in the Maryland case should have a positive
impact on a different case involving the City of Pensacola’s defense of its 78-year-old
cross monument to World War II veterans, which faces a legal challenge similar to the
one the Supreme Court just rejected.

In October 2018, Alabama led a 13-state amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to
overturn two lower court rulings declaring the Pensacola monument unconstitutional.
The Court is expected to consider the case in the coming weeks.

501 Washington Avenue * Montgomery, AL 36104 * (334) 242-7300
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“I am hopeful that the Court will agree with the people of Pensacola that their beloved
cross memorial in Bayview Park must be protected,” said Attorney General Marshall.