ADF attorney available for media interviews at U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday
WASHINGTON — Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence will be available for media interviews following oral arguments Wednesday before the U.S. Supreme Court in a landmark case involving a cross-shaped veterans’ memorial currently covered up by a box in California’s Mojave Desert.
Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund, Advocates for Faith and Freedom, and the American Legion Department of California filed a friend-of-the-court brief in June that argues for the lifting of a court order which required the memorial to be covered up. The order was the result of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a man who claims he was “offended” by the cross.
“The ACLU and its allies should not be able to demolish war memorials based on the objection of one person who lives 1,000 miles away and can’t seriously claim to have suffered harm from it,” said Lorence. “Federal courts prohibit 'offended observers' to sue under every other provision of the Constitution, so why should the ACLU have this weapon of destruction at its disposal for the purpose of dishonoring the sacrifice of American heroes? If the Mojave Cross Memorial is not allowed to stand, then numerous other veterans’ memorials will be vulnerable to legal attack. Americans want memorials to our nations’ fallen heroes protected.”
In 2001, the ACLU sued the National Park Service on behalf of a retired park employee because other permanent religious displays had not been erected at the site. Various forms of the memorial cross have existed at the location ever since 1934 when the Veterans of Foreign Wars placed it at its current spot. In 2004, Congress authorized the transfer of the one acre of land under the cross back to the VFW, a private organization, in exchange for five acres of other land. The ACLU argued that the land transfer was unconstitutional, and a federal district judge agreed.
ADF funded a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the National Legal Foundation in an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which upheld the lower court’s decision. On Feb. 23, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that they would accept review of the case, Salazar v. Buono. In the meantime, the memorial remains covered by a plywood box.
The Defense of Veterans’ Memorials Project spearheaded by ADF, the American Legion Department of California, and Liberty Legal Institute seeks to defend America’s veterans’ memorials from attack in the courts.
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.