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Atheist goes to high court in cross challenge

Published: Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS – A Chicago-area atheist is using his last legal recourse in challenging the use of state funds to renovate a towering southern Illinois cross, but he acknowledges the odds are “pretty slim” that the U.S. Supreme Court will agree to hear the case.

Robert Sherman’s filing Tuesday with the high court came three months after the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s finding that Sherman lacks standing to sue over the $20,000 Illinois grant given in 2008 to the 111-foot-high Bald Knob Cross of Peace.

Sherman said Wednesday that it’s unlikely the Supreme Court – commonly considered “the court of last resort” – will agree to hear his arguments that using taxpayer money for the cross near Alto Pass, Ill., was unconstitutional. The high court last term accepted roughly 80 of the some 7,500 appeals filed with it.

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