The U.S. Supreme Court has quietly -- but absolutely -- rejected an atheist's legal fight with Illinois officials about the use of state funds to refurbish a cross that has towered above rural Alto Pass for five decades. The high court Tuesday turned back without comment a case filed in 2010 by Chicago-area man Rob Sherman. An atheist, Sherman for two years has argued in lower courts that a $20,000 grant violated separation of church and state rules. Lower courts maintained that Sherman lacked standing. Sherman said the grant was a legislative earmark, not a discretionary allocation from the executive branch. Sherman's website included a statement that called the nation's court system a "complete joke," adding that the decision amounts to a "fraud against the taxpayers of this country." The grant came from $5 million channeled to fundraising group Friends of the Cross to add to its $500,000 restoration of the Bald Knob Cross of Peace.
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