Monument Avenue owners ask Virginia Supreme Court to rehear Robert E. Lee statue removal case

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Three weeks after the Robert E. Lee statue was hoisted from its pedestal in Richmond, a group of Monument Avenue owners who challenged state authority to remove it asked the Supreme Court of Virginia to reconsider its unanimous decision which paved the way for its removal.

Judges ruled in favor of the state in two court challenges earlier this month, dissolving injunctions that prevented Virginia from removing the Confederate monument for more than a year. In a petition filed on Wednesday Seeking a new hearing, plaintiffs in a lawsuit accused the High Court of making “several fundamental errors” in its ruling.

“If these errors are not corrected, the damage to the rule of law, the authority of the General Assembly and the credibility of the Court will be profound and lasting,” the petition says.

The 11-page dossier claims that the opinion of the judges of September 2 ignored the claimants’ claim that Virginia cannot refuse a deal to get the monument and the land it stands on, while also benefiting from the deal.

“Such a result allows the Commonwealth to take property without compensation in violation of the take-possession clause of the Constitution of Virginia and the Constitution of the United States,” claim the plaintiffs in the petition. “If the restrictive covenants are void, the law requires that the parties be restored to the conditions that existed before the agreement was concluded. ”

Under Virginia law, one of the judges who initially ruled against the plaintiffs is expected to certify that “there are good reasons” to grant a new hearing.

“It really is a lost cause. Every branch of government has come out – including a unanimous Supreme Court decision – in favor of a more inclusive, fair Virginia, ”Northam spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky said in a statement Wednesday. “It is time to move on.”

Legal efforts maintained the Confederate monument for more than a year after Governor Ralph Northam ordered its removal in June 2020. On September 8, work crews removed the 21-foot (6-meter) bronze equestrian sculpture of the Confederate General from its pedestal, where it was then cut in half and shipped out of town.

Charlotte Gomer, spokesperson for Attorney General Mark Herring, told 8News in an email that the GA’s office is reviewing the petition. “It’s time for the Commonwealth to move away from a past where the leaders of a racist insurgency were glorified for a future that tells our entire story fully and truthfully,” Gomer wrote.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.


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