U.S. District Court Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz today formally consolidated two separate cases that challenge the constitutionality of a Latin cross on government land atop Mount Soledad and the recent transfer of that land from the city to the federal government.
The cases were brought by Phillip Paulson, the atheist and Vietnam War veteran who has waged a 17-year legal battle to remove the cross, and the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing a Jewish veterans group and several San Diego citizens.
Moskowitz’s decision was expected. James McElroy, Paulson’s attorney, said the consolidation would only impact his case because now “there are more soldiers in the battle doing the leg work.”
Next week, the judge is expected to announce whether he’ll allow the Pacific Justice Institute, a right-of-center legal defense organization, to join the case as a defendant.