FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Wednesday, April 13, 2016
CONTACT: Sara Rabern (605)773-3215
PIERRE, S.D.- Attorney General Marty Jackley this week joined a bipartisan group of 25 states in fighting to protect a historic cross honoring World War I veterans as part of a case with much broader implications.
“One of my primary responsibilities as Attorney General is to protect state and individual rights. The State Attorneys General are requesting the Federal Courts to recognize important Constitutional rights and respect the dedication, sacrifice, and freedoms earned by our veterans,” said Attorney General Jackley.
The case at hand 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.
South Dakota and 24 other states are requesting the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm a lower court’s ruling, which found the U.S. Constitution allows veterans memorials with religious symbolism.
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.
States that signed the brief include: Alabama, Arkansas, 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, West Virginia and Wisconsin.