Supreme Court Asked to Hear Highway Cross Case

By Melanie Hunter-Omar | May 24, 2011 | 2:30 PM EDT

( – A constitutional law group filed a friend-of-the-court brief on Monday calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of an appeals court that declared placement of crosses along Utah highways unconstitutional.

"This is just another troubling example of the courts being used to remove symbols to honor those who have given their lives in service to others - in this case, Utah Highway Patrol officers," Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, said in a press release.

"The mere existence of a religious symbol in a public place need not trigger a constitutional crisis. The Supreme Court recently noted that the Constitution does not prohibit, but rather accommodates such symbols. We're hopeful the high court will take this case and reverse the appeals court decision, clearing the way for the highway crosses to remain in place," Sekulow added.

In the case, the Utah Highway Patrol Association, a private, nonreligious group, erected Latin crosses that displayed the Highway Patrol logo, names, pictures, ranks, badge numbers, service information, and years of death of highway patrol officers who had died in the line of duty.

The crosses were displayed in locations safely accessible to the public and as close as possible to the sites where the officers had died and were intended to serve as memorials to the officers’ service and sacrifice and as reminders of the importance of driving safely.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled that the placement of the crosses violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.