New lawsuit challenges removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans; suit claims court’s decision violates free speech
Dec 22, 2015 04:11 AM EST
Four groups recently filed a lawsuit against the City Council of New Orleans to repeal the plans to remove Confederate monuments in the city. According to the plaintiff's suit, abolishing these landmarks is a violation of free speech and goes against their beliefs in preserving the heritage and history of New Orleans, according to the New York Times.
The suit was filed by the Monumental Task Committee, the Louisiana Landmarks Society, the Foundation for Historical Louisiana and a faction from the Sons of Confederate Veterans. As stated in the lawsuit, the complainants are aiming to reverse the City Council's decision to remove certain Confederate landmarks including the statues of P.G.T Beauregard, the first general of the Confederate States Army, and Robert E. Lee, the commander of Confederate Army of North Virginia.
Other monuments that are included in the removal process are the statue of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America and obelisk and a pillar erected to commemorate a white supremacist group. The plaintiffs noted that these monuments represent a huge part of New Orleans' history and culture.
The four groups' move to challenge the City Council's plans stems from the statements made by Mitch Landrieu, the Democratic mayor of New Orleans, earlier this year regarding the city's ongoing tribute to its Confederate heritage. In his speech, the mayor cited an editorial article written by musician Wynton Marsalis regarding the need for the city to change its attitudes regarding its historical figures, the ABA Journal reported.
According to the musician, instead of memorializing Confederate leaders who supported slavery, New Orleans should honor the contributions of other personalities in the city such as Anne Rice, Andrew Jackson and Wendell Pierce. Through the words of Marsalis, Landrieu was able to sway the City Council to take down Confederate landmarks in New Orleans.
However, though the lawsuit filed by the various groups, the city's plans have been halted. A court hearing set to take place on January 14, 2016 will determine whether or not the City Council will be allowed to carry on with its removal project, the WDSU News has learned.