Judge orders removal of San Diego war cross

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A federal judge in San Diego says a 43-foot war memorial cross must be removed from the top of a mountain in 90 days because it violates the principle of separation of church and state.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns said Thursday that it's time for the long-running case to end.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2011 that the cross atop Mount Soledad violated the Constitution. After the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, the case went back to Burns to consider any alternatives.

Burns says it might have been a closer call if the federal government was on the verge of transferring the property to a private owner. He says the order to remove the cross would be put on hold if there is an appeal.

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