AG Steve Marshall leads 13-state SCOTUS amicus brief in support of cross in public park

Pensacola cross
Pensacola cross

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall led a group of 13 states in filing an amicus brief Thursday to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the City of Pensacola’s right to maintain a historic cross in a downtown public park.

“At issue is the right of the City of Pensacola to keep a public landmark in a city park,” said Marshall. “The landmark in this case is a simple Latin cross erected in a corner of Bayview Park by the citizens of Pensacola as the nation was preparing to enter the Second World War.”

Marshall’s filing, in the case Amanda Konrat’yev v. City of Pensacola, Florida, was in response to the well-known Bayview Cross in a Pensacola public park that was ordered to be taken down last summer following a controversial ruling where a federal judge decided in favor of a group of people who sued the city who claimed the cross is offensive. The City of Pensacola asked the Supreme Court last month to hear the case to decide whether or not symbols like historic crosses can stand in the public square.

“For 77 years, the cross has served as a backdrop for community events and memorial services honoring veterans,” Marshall added. “Given the history and significance of this beloved local landmark, it defies reason that Pensacolans should be forced to remove it because its presence is now perceived to conflict with the Constitution’s prohibition of the establishment of religion. This distorted view of the law, which has unfortunately been upheld by two federal courts, is a serious challenge to the public’s ability to retain historic religious symbols on thousands of monuments and memorials on public property across America.”

Marshall continued, “The impact of this question travels far beyond Pensacola. I was in our Nation’s Capital a few weeks ago and noticed thousands of crosses lining the hills of Arlington overlooking Washington, D.C.  Should they now be ripped out of the ground because they can also be viewed as religious symbols? Even members of the federal appeals court panel that ruled against the City’s ability to display the cross have called into question the legal precedent used to challenge such displays.”

Alabama was joined by Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah in the filing.