Alabama AG: “The Supreme Court’s ruling is a victory for the Alabama law which seeks to protect historical monuments.”
Confederate monuments came under attack from the radical left several years ago. In 2017, the SPLC joined the fray and published a list of places and monuments with “Confederate names” that they claimed had the potential to act as “catalysts” to “unleash more turmoil and bloodshed.”
The city of Birmingham, Alabama, decided that it would be a great idea to hide a Confederate monument behind plywood screens after the state sued the city more than two years ago.
This week, the Alabama Supreme Court unanimously ruled that this action violated state law.
Alabama’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that the city of Birmingham broke state law when it ordered plywood screens be placed around the base of a Confederate monument in 2017.
The 9-0 ruling by Alabama’s high court reversed a ruling by a lower court that was favorable to the city.
The Jefferson Circuit Court ruled in January that Alabama’s law protecting historical monuments was ambiguous and that it also violated the city of Birmingham’s right to free speech.
The Alabama Supreme Court said the lower court erred when it ruled that the municipality had constitutional rights to free speech. In its ruling, the high court ordered the circuit judge to “enter an order declaring that the [city’s] actions constitute a violation” and also imposed a fine of $25,000 against Birmingham.
Alabama’s Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) explained in a 2017 press conference why the state filed a suit against the city of Birmingham.
In response to the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision, Marshall said that the ruling was a victory.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement that the Supreme Court ruling was “the correct conclusion,” adding: “The Supreme Court’s ruling is a victory for the Alabama law which seeks to protect historical monuments. The City of Birmingham acted unlawfully when it erected barriers to obstruct the view of the 114-year-old Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Linn Park.”
The suit and subsequent ruling is rooted in the 2017 law passed by Alabama’s state legislature and signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey (R).
The Legislature passed the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act in 2017 in response to removals and calls for removal of Confederate monuments on public property.
The law prohibits local governments from moving, altering, renaming, or otherwise disturbing monuments that have been in place 40 years or more.
The stone base of the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument has been in Linn Park since 1894. The marble shaft was added in 1905, when the Pelham Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy dedicated the monument.
Former Birmingham Mayor William Bell ordered the covering of the monument. Bell took that step after a city councilman asked that the monument be removed.
Attorney General Steve Marshall filed a lawsuit asking the court to declare the covering of the monument violated the Memorial Preservation Act.
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