High Court Avoids Dispute Over Highway Crosses

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
Appeals court says crosses are an unconstitutional endorsement of Christianity bu state government

In this Aug. 23, 2010 photo, 14 steel crosses line the northbound side of Interstate 15 in Hurricane, Utah. Each cross represents a Utah Highway Patrolman that fell in the line of duty.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal of a
ruling that 12-foot-high crosses along Utah highways in honor of dead state troopers are unconstitutional.

Justice Clarence Thomas dissented, saying the case offered the
court the opportunity to clear up confusion over how to apply the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, the prohibition against government endorsement of religion.

The private Utah Highway Patrol Association has paid for and erected more than a dozen memorial crosses, most of them on state land.

After American Atheists sued the state, the Utah Legislature passed a resolution declaring the cross a secular symbol of death.

But the federal appeals court said the crosses were an unconstitutional endorsement of Christianity by Utah's state government.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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