ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Chris Carr recently joined a bipartisan group of 28 states in fighting to protect a 93-year-old memorial honoring World War I veterans as part of a case with much broader implications for the First Amendment. The plaintiffs in the case asked a court to order that the memorial be destroyed or revised because it bears the shape of a cross. The coalition urges the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the lower court’s ruling that the memorial violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution and provide greater clarity about the Establishment Clause’s parameters in challenges to monuments like this.
“Almost a century ago in Maryland, mothers who lost their sons in World War I, community members and the American Legion banded together to create a lasting memorial in honor of 49 local heroes who died overseas while bravely serving this great nation,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “We strongly believe that tributes such as these, that are now in jeopardy of being destroyed or modified, do not violate the Constitution and should be protected and preserved.”
The case at hand involves a nearly century-old memorial cross in Bladensburg, Maryland – started by community members and mothers whose sons died in World War I and finished by the American Legion. The lawsuit seeks to force the state of Maryland to tear down the historic cross. This case is yet another example that demonstrates the need for the Supreme Court to step in and clarify its Establishment Clause jurisprudence, which even members of that Court have acknowledged is in disarray. Their ultimate decision could impact memorials across the nation, including ones in Georgia.
Led by West Virginia, Georgia joined the brief along with attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia, as well as the governor of Kentucky.
A copy of the brief is attached.