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this forty foot World War one memorial in the shape of a cross has stood for nearly a century at a busy intersection in suburban Maryland but the towering monument is also at the center of a major religious rights case to be heard next week by the US Supreme Court's critics such as plaintiff Fred Edward say at the statue on public land violates the separation of church and state mandated under the constitution's first amendments the monument supporters including the American Legion say it's simply honors men from the local area who died in World War one Reuters correspondent Lawrence Hurley is following the case one way of looking at it is that it's not a religious monument at all and therefore doesn't violate the establishment clause of the constitution the other way of looking at it is I wish the American Legion is taking is a more aggressive position which is that they want the Supreme Court to actually change the way I analyzes such cases the say that a across like this was some other kind of display of a religious nature doesn't violate the constitution unless it coerces people into actually practicing religion a District Court judge in Maryland had previously ruled that the cross did not violate the constitution but an appeals court overruled the lower court which has led the case to the supreme court's one of the arguments made by the supporters of the cross is that the Supreme Court precedent on this issue is actually quite confusing for lower court judges which is why from different cases around the country come out different ways depending on %HESITATION how the judges I analyze it some legal experts believe the conservative majority Supreme Court is likely to be sympathetic to the American Legion and its allies Hurley says a sweeping decision by the High Court could fundamentally change the way judges Butte church and state protections and that could make it harder for people like Fred Edwards to bring such cases forward in the future oral arguments in the case are set for February twenty seventh