A federal judge in Riverside, Calif., has issued orders for the destruction of the solitary Roman cross at the Mojave Desert World War I Veterans Memorial.
The court ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union to nullify an act of Congress last year sponsored by Congressman Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., which authorized a land exchange which would place the cross site on private land and in private hands in a land exchange.
The ACLU contended the land exchange was a “sham” to evade the court’s injunctive order to destroy the cross, first issued in 2002. The court has so found and, significantly, ordered the legislative branch – Congress – not to carry out the land exchange, and ordered the executive branch to destroy the cross at the veterans memorial.
Veterans in the 2.7-million member American Legion have vowed to fight against the destruction of the veterans memorial, and stand up to the ACLU. The Legion is calling on Congress to amend the Civil Rights Act, 42 United States Code Section 1988, to eliminate the power of judges to award the ACLU attorney fees – to be paid by taxpayers – in this and other “Establishment Clause” cases.
The cross, two pipes strapped together and mounted on a rock outcrop in in the remote Mojave Desert, was erected by private citizens on what was then private land in order to honor the service of World War I veterans. Bill Clinton incorporated the site in the Forest Service as one of his last acts as president.
Although there had never been a complaint about the veterans memorial cross in more than 70 years, the ACLU seized the opportunity to file a federal suit to destroy it as a violation of the Establishment Clause – and to seek attorney fees under the Civil Rights Act.
It has collected $63,000 in attorney fees so far, although neither it nor the plaintiff, Frank Buono, has any actual attorney fees. Buono is a retired Forest Service employee who moved to Oregon, then asked to sue to destroy the cross. He claimed his Civil Rights are violated because he has to see the cross when he drives to California to visit.
The federal court in Riverside is the first in history in which a private citizen has been allowed to sue a veterans memorial to remove a religious symbol. Now, the same court has nullified an act of Congress by judicial fiat, and ordered the executive branch to destroy the cross. The two other branches apparently believe themselves impotent when faced with an order by an unelected judge-for-life, answerable to no one.
This calls to mind the question Shakespeare in Julius Cesar: “Upon what meat has this our Cesar fed that he has grown so great?”
The day before the decision, American Legion National Commander Tom Cadmus published a letter to congressional leaders to amend 42 USC 1988 to withdraw the authority of judges to award the ACLU attorney fees in “Establishment Clause” cases against the Boy Scouts, veterans memorials and, seemingly, every public display of America’s religious history and heritage.
There is no doubt that the ACLU will now request and receive even more thousands in taxpayer-paid attorney fees unless the Civil Rights Act is amended as the Legion calls for in our Resolution 326.
This most recent judicial decision on the West Coast, like that of the judicial order to starve an American woman to death on the East Coast, where a governor was ordered by a court not to act to save an American life, is further evidence that the American people should and must stand up against and stop an out-of-conrol ACLU, and an out-of-control judiciary.
Manifestly, there is a need for Americans, the “We the People” of the Declaration of Independence, to stop acting as sheep before lawyers sitting as judges who are usurping the powers of the legislative and executive branches, and are sucking freedom and democracy from our republican form of government.
Indeed, the ACLU is now so fanatic and loosed from common sense that it has become the Taliban of liberal secularism, and the judiciary has become so possessed of narcissistic meglomania as to appropriate unto itself unchecked power to make the ultimate determinations of our Constitution, our laws and our American culture through a process of judicial review which has become in fact judicial voodoo.
Rees Lloyd is a former ACLU attorney.