In the latest chapter of a long legal battle, a California judge has ruled unconstitutional a voter-approved San Diego (search) measure that allowed a large cross to remain overlooking the city.

The cross stands on city-owned property on Mount Soledad. (search) The July election transferred ownership of the 29-foot cross to the federal government.

But Judge Patricia Cowett (search) says maintaining the Christian symbol on public land is an "unconstitutional preference of religion" and transferring ownership to the federal government is an "unconstitutional aid to religion."

It's been 16 years since an atheist began battling the city over the cross and 14 years since a federal judge ordered it removed. One proposed settlement was to move the cross to a nearby church, but that never happened.