Supreme Court Rejects Utah Cross Case

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The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a case over whether memorial crosses displayed along highways in Utah violate the U.S. Constitution.
    
The 12-foot high crosses were placed there by the Utah Highway Patrol Association in memory of fallen state troopers.

They display the names, badge numbers and the year of death of officers killed in the line of duty.

Justice Clarence Thomas, the lone dissenter, expressed his displeasure with the court's decision in a 19-page missive.

"Today the court rejects an opportunity to provide clarity to an Establishment Clause jurisprudence in shambles," he wrote.
         
In 2005, the American Atheists sued the state over the crosses, claiming they suggest a state endorsement of Christianity over other religions.    

The Utah Legislature then passed a resolution declaring the cross a secular symbol.

They noted that a white cross "has become widely accepted as a symbol of a death, and not a religious symbol, when placed along a highway."
    
Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit sided with the atheist group, ruling the crosses were an unconstitutional endorsement of Christianity.

"The fact that the cross includes biographical information about the fallen trooper does not diminish the governmental message endorsing Christianity," the appeals court wrote. 

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