Tag: confederate monument

High Court Rules Confederate Monument Outside Birmingham City Hall Cannot Be Covered, Fines City

UPDATED – The Alabama Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the city of Birmingham had violated state law by covering a Confederate monument outside City Hall. The decision reverses a previous ruling by the Jefferson County Circuit Court and orders the city to pay $25,000 in penalties to the state of Alabama.

The monument in question, in Birmingham’s Linn Park, was ordered covered in August 2017 by then-Mayor William Bell following deadly riots surrounding a Confederate monument in Charlottesville, Virginia. The monument, then-City Council President Johnathan Austin contended, “celebrate(s) racism, bigotry, hate and all those things that the South has been known for.”

By covering the monument, Bell said he intended to “challenge” state law, specifically the just-passed Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017, which prohibits local governments from moving or altering historically significant buildings or monuments that are more than 40 years old without permission from the state. The Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument was first placed in Linn Park by the Pelham chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1905. Read more.

State Asks Judge to Protect Confederate Monument While Lawsuit Appealed

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall fired the latest salvo in the battle over historical monuments in the state, filing a motion to stay a Jefferson County judge’s ruling that the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act is unconstitutional.

Then-Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Michael Graffeo said in his Jan. 14 ruling that the law essentially forced a pro-Confederacy message on the city of Birmingham. Read more.

Judge Tosses Memorial Protection Law in Case Over Birmingham Confederate Monument

Updated: A Jefferson County judge has voided a state law that protected historical monuments.

Ruling in a case over the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Birmingham’s Linn Park, then-Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Michael Graffeo said that the law essentially forced a pro-Confederacy message on the city of Birmingham.

“Just as the state could not force any particular citizen to post a pro-Confederacy sign in his or her front lawn, so too can the state not commandeer the city’s property for the state’s preferred message.” Read more.

Questions Raised About Legal Protections for Historic Monuments in Court Hearing Over Linn Park’s Plywood Screen

After nearly three hours of debate, lawyers for the city of Birmingham and the state of Alabama left court Friday with homework instead of a ruling on the matter of the Confederate monument in Linn Park.

The city erected a plywood screen around the monument and sought to challenge a state law signed in May 2017 that protects monuments. But in court Friday, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Michael Graffeo raised questions related to older laws dealing with Confederate monuments. He asked lawyers for the city to address his questions by May 4. Attorneys for the state will then respond.

Lawyers also argued over whether, if the judge does decide to fine the city, that find should be a flat $25,000 or $25,000 a day, which would be more than $6 million. Read more.