President Bush in mid-August signed into law a measure that aims to preserve a controversial cross on public land in San Diego. The law permits the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial to be owned by the federal government, marking the latest juncture in a legal battle over its constitutionality.
In July, Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy issued a stay that suspended a lower court decision that would have forced the city to remove the 29-foot cross from public property.
Even as further court action is expected, groups on both sides of the issue reacted August 14 as Bush signed it into law.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).