Lawyers for the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association have filed a petition to send a long-running court battle over the fate of a 43-foot cross in the hills above La Jolla directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. The association is appealing a recent district court order to have the cross removed. The nation's high court refused to hear the case two years ago. Judge Larry Burns issued his order in December in response to a 2011 decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that the memorial violates the first amendment. the judge stayed his order until all appeals are exhausted. Erected in 1954, the memorial is the nation's oldest Korean War Veterans memorial, containing more than 3,300 plaques honoring the sacrifice and service of members of the armed forces. The cross has been the subject of legal challenges for the past 24 years.