Court Battle Over Confederate Monuments
Take Em Down NOLA (TEDN), a multiracial coalition working to remove Confederate statues in New Orleans, teamed up with several lawyers and filed an amicus brief last Monday, January 11.The brief, filed in federal court, is in retaliation to a lawsuit filed by an opposing group that includes the Monumental Task Committee, Louisiana Landmarks Society, Foundation for Historical Louisiana, Inc., Beauregard Camp No. 30, Inc., and the local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The group filed a lawsuit on December 17, 2015, and sued the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Transit Administration, New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, the City of New Orleans and Mayor Mitchell Landrieu.
The monuments in question are of Confederates Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard. The Battle of Liberty Place Monument is also up for removal. A federal judge will hear the first argument in the case today.
The amicus brief supports the authority of the New Orleans City Council to remove statues considered to be public nuisances.”Section 146-611 (b) of the New Orleans Code of Ordinances empowers the City Council to remove statues from public property when those statues are a nuisance. Part One of the ordinance defines a nuisance a “thing honors, praises, or fosters ideologies which are in conflict with the requirements of equal protection for citizens as provided by the constitution and laws of the United States, the state, or the laws of the city and gives honor or praise to those who participated in the killing of public employees of the city or the state or suggests the supremacy of one ethnic, religious, or racial group over any other, or gives honor or praise to any violent actions taken wrongfully against citizens of the city to promote ethnic, religious or racial superiority of any group.”
H & O Investments of Baton Rouge was hired to take down the monuments, but quit after receiving death threats, and other businesses threatened to cancel their contracts with the company, city attorney Rebecca Dietz told the court today. “The city has been in negotiations with private landowners” for the creation of a Civil War park in which the monuments would be placed, Dietz said.