Tony Galvin of San Diego said he understood the principle of separation of church and state but called the cross “a special case.” “It’s been here for a long time,” he said. “It’s part of San Diego’s fabric and it really should stay as is.” Three years ago, the Supreme Court refused to get involved in the dispute between Paulson and the city. Kennedy granted the stay to the city and the cross’ supporters without comment pending a further order from him or the entire court. It was unclear Monday how long the stay would remain in effect or whether the Supreme Court would ultimately deny the appeals by the city and the cross’ supporters.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Phil Thalheimer, chairman of the war memorial group, said the ruling “borders on divine intervention.” “We were jumping up and down,” he said. “For this to happen on July 3 – the day before our Independence Day, which is about freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of expression – it couldn’t have happened better.” U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, said the stay was “the right decision.” Hunter, along with Mayor Jerry Sanders, asked President George W. Bush in May to exercise his power of eminent domain and take over the half-acre cross site atop Mount Soledad. The cross, on a scenic hilltop perch in the upscale La Jolla area, was contested in 1989 by Philip Paulson, a Vietnam veteran and atheist. The ruling drew mixed reviews from a smattering of tourists and visitors to the cross. SAN DIEGO – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday put on hold an order to remove a monumental cross that sits on public land, giving hope to supporters just weeks before the cross was to be taken down. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, acting for the high court, issued a stay of a lower court order to remove the 29-foot cross by Aug. 1, buying time for the city of San Diego and other cross supporters to continue their fight in state and federal appellate courts. The city argued that the cross was part of a broader memorial that was important to the community. San Diegans for the Mount Soledad National War Memorial joined the city’s appeal, saying they wanted to avoid the “destruction of this national treasure.” In May, U.S. District Court Judge Gordon Thompson Jr. declared that the cross, a symbol of Christianity, was an unconstitutional endorsement of one religion over another. Thompson ordered the city to take down the cross or pay daily fines of $5,000 starting Aug. 2.