A temporary restraining order that halted the removal of Dallas’ Robert E. Lee statue on Wednesday amounted to a brief roadblock on the general’s final ride up and away from his mount at an Oak Lawn park.
After a short hearing at a downtown courthouse Thursday afternoon, Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater dissolved the restraining order, clearing the way for workers to follow through on the City Council’s 13-1 vote resolving to immediately remove and store the bronze statue. The removal may be less immediate than originally planned, as Councilman Dwaine Caraway told reporters outside the courthouse “we’ll take our time” moving the statue. Still, it’s coming down. Once they sort out how, exactly, to pull that thing from its concrete base. Bigger crowbars, maybe.
The restraining order seemed unlikely to hold up (Jim Schutze at the Observer has a good piece today going into why its First Amendment argument was flawed, in this case) but gave a last jolt of hope to the statue’s supporters. And it’s certainly not the end of the heated debate over the city’s remaining Confederate monuments, and the streets and parks bearing the names of Confederates. Shortly after the judge’s ruling today, Kirk Lyons, the controversial lawyer who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Hiram Patterson and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, posted on Facebook that “we fight on.”
Meanwhile, the city’s task force on Confederate monuments meets tonight at 6 p.m., and we all continue to have respectful, cool-headed conversations about this issue.