New Orleans monuments to Confederate heroes and the White League will remain part of the cityscape for a while longer. In the most recent turn of the protracted battle, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeal forbade removal until a lawsuit is resolved.
The Friday (3.25) decision reversed an earlier denial of injunction from U.S District Judge Carl Barbier (of Deepwater Horizon fame). During that hearing, the judge shredded plaintiffs’ argument to the point of flirting with mockery. However, a panel comprised of Judges Edith Brown Clement, Jennifer Walker Elrod and Leslie Southwick reversed that decision.
The actual case will still be heard in Barbier’s court room though. The federal suit filed by John Dunlap III on behalf of a coalition of the Louisiana Landmarks Society, the Foundation for Historical Louisiana, and Beauregard Camp No. 130 alleges that removal is unconstitutional on a state and national level.
Pierre McGraw, president of the Monumental Task Force board, reacted in a prepared statement. He wrote, “We appreciate the unanimous decision of the panel of federal judges, which acknowledges that removing the monuments is premature. This action will allow for a full review of the constitutional and statutory issues at stake in this case.”
The Confederate sympathizers are also appealing a second ruling. Locally, Orleans Civil District Judge Piper Griffin denied a previous argument that the Monumental Task Force actually holds in ownership stake in the statues. Legally observers assign little merit to that case.
The brouhaha hit overdrive on December 18, 2015 when the Council voted 6-1 to declare the monuments Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, P.T. Beauregard, and the Crescent City White Leage a nuisance meriting removal. Council-Members Jason Williams, Susan Guidry, James Gray, Jared Brosset, Nadine Rasmey, and LaToya Cantrell all voted in favor of the ordinance. Stacy Head voted to keep the monuments.