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U.S. Supreme Court rejects request to speed up Bayview Cross removal case

Photo: PxHere / U.S. Supreme Court rejects request to speed up Bayview Cross removal case

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a request from the city of Pensacola to speed up consideration of a case about the removal of a decades-old cross from a city park.

The city appealed to the Supreme Court last month after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the cross in Bayview Park should be removed because it violates the First Amendment's Establishment Clause. Four plaintiffs filed a lawsuit challenging the cross, saying its presence on public property was unconstitutional.

In addition to appealing last month to the U.S. Supreme Court, attorneys for the city also requested that justices "expedite" consideration of whether to hear the case. The request focused, in part, on another pending case involving the removal of a cross in Maryland. The American Legion filed an appeal this year in the Maryland case, which is about a memorial to fallen World War I soldiers.

"Expedited consideration of the petition is warranted in this (Pensacola) case so that the (Supreme) Court can consider the petition alongside the petitions in American Legion," the city's attorneys wrote. "American Legion, like this case, involves a court of appeals' ruling that displaying a decades-old cross violates the Establishment Clause. Both cases present the same question about the proper Establishment Clause test to apply to religious displays."

The Supreme Court, as is common, did not explain its reasons Tuesday for denying the request to speed up consideration of the Pensacola case. It has not decided whether to hear the Maryland case, according to an online docket.

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