Supreme Court will hear case involving display of cross

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court opened its 2009 term Oct. 5 with a new justice and cases dealing with at least one religious rights issueabout a cross on a war memorial in a federal preserve.

Among the 90 pages of case lists the court declined to take were those asking the court to require the state of Illinois to offer “Choose Life” license plates; challenging the way the death penalty is imposed in Louisiana and Illinois; and challenging Florida’s requirement for schoolchildren to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance in class.

In the first week of the new term, the court will hear Oct. 7 Salazar v. Buono, which challenges the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision ordering the federal government to no longer permit a cross, erected as a war memorial in 1934, to be displayed on public land.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars put a cross on a rock in an isolated part of the 1.6 million-acre Mojave National Preserve in San Bernardino County, Calif., as a memorial to those killed in World War I. The monument, which has been replaced several times by private organizations or individuals, is quite remote, visible only from a little-used side road.

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