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AG Hawley joins bipartisan fight to protect veterans memorial


Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley joined a bipartisan group of 28 states in fighting to protect a historic cross honoring World War I veterans as part of a case with much broader implications for the First Amendment.

In an Amicus Brief filed Monday, the 28-state coalition urges the U.S. Supreme Court to consider and ultimately protect veterans memorials that include religious symbolism. The coalition’s friend-of-the-court brief seeks to overturn a lower court’s ruling that one such memorial violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The case at hand involves a nearly century-old memorial cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, started by community members and mothers whose sons died in World War I, and finished by the American Legion. The initial lawsuit seeks to force the state of Maryland to tear down the historic cross.

The Supreme Court’s ultimate decision could impact veterans memorials across the nation, including those at Arlington National Cemetery.

“The Constitution does not require an elimination of all religious imagery in war memorials,” Hawley said. “This memorial uses religious imagery for a civic purpose—that of remembering the sacrifice soldiers made protecting their country. The Court must overturn the lower court ruling and protect the many monuments that contain religious imagery.”

This case is a chance to provide support for the nation’s many memorials that honor fallen service members. These memorials tie history to the present and provide a place to thank and honor the dead.

Missouri joined the West Virginia-led brief with attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia, as well as the governor of Kentucky. 

View a copy of the brief here .