Utah Troopers Seek Highway Cross Rehearing

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In Utah, a rehearing is being sought in a case involving 14 crosses placed along a state highway.

This past August, three judges ruled that the crosses were an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. Yet, the trooper's lawyers disagree and want a rehearing.

The Utah Highway Patrol Association filed a petition for the rehearing, saying that the full 10th Circuit Court of Appeals must decide whether the ruling "erroneously" holds that "private monuments erected on public land with the permission of the government" is government speech.

The UHP put up the 12-foot-high white memorial crosses to honor fallen patrol officers.

However, Texas-based American Atheists, Inc. sued the The Beehive State in 2005 because of the patrol's logo were placed on the crosses. The group said the memorials implied that the troopers who died at each location were Christians.

American Atheists representative Brian Barnard said the petition doesn't open the door for new arguments.

"They didn't like the answer they got," Barnard said. "They're hoping that if all of the other judges on the 10th Circuit hear those same arguments, that maybe the result will be different."

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