Twenty-five states have filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a case challenging the constitutionality of a Maryland war memorial in the shape of a cross.
West Virginia is the lead state urging the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a judge's ruling that the 40-foot-tall cross doesn't violate the Constitution.
The monument honoring 49 men who died in World War I stands in a state-owned highway median in Bladensburg, Maryland, just outside Washington. An atheist group claimed in a 2014 lawsuit that the so-called "Bladensburg Cross'' amounts to unconstitutional government sponsorship of religion.
In their brief, the 25 states say a decision upholding the lower court's ruling would set an important precedent protecting other memorials, including those at Arlington National Cemetery. A hearing date has not been set.