Rutledge, 24 Other Attorneys General, Fight to Save Veterans Memorial
April 15, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined a bipartisan group of 25 attorneys general in fighting to protect a historic cross honoring World War I veterans.
“Across the United States, countless memorials and monuments have been erected to honor the men and women who have bravely defended this nation,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Many of these monuments like the one in Maryland include religious imagery, which is fully consistent with the Constitution. However, if the 4th Circuit does not affirm the lower court’s decision, it could eventually jeopardize hundreds of historic war memorials across the country, forcing their removal or alteration.”
Rutledge and 24 other attorneys general have filed an amicus brief asking the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm a lower court’s ruling, which found the U.S. Constitution allows veterans memorials with religious symbolism.
The case involves a white, memorial cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, built by the American Legion to remember World War I veterans. The initial lawsuit sought to force the State of Maryland to tear down the historic cross.
The district court found Maryland’s cross to be protected by the First Amendment. An appeal followed and the case rests before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Its ultimate decision could impact memorials in West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, including those at Arlington National Cemetery.
Rutledge signed the brief, which was led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, along with attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The brief was filed as part of American Humanist Association, et.al. v. Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission.