The statue of Robert E. Lee at Oak Lawn's Lee Park is among the city's Confederate monuments. Photo by Alex Macon.

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Judge Orders Halt to Removal of Robert E. Lee Statue in Oak Lawn

A hearing has been set for Thursday, but the Confederate monument will stand for now.

A federal judge granted a temporary restraining order stopping the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Oak Lawn on Wednesday afternoon, hours after the Dallas City Council approved a resolution calling for it to immediately be taken down.

The temporary restraining order was filed by Kirk Lyons, described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “white supremacist lawyer,” on behalf of Hiram Patterson and the Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who contend in the motion that the removal of the statue is a violation of their rights of free speech and due process. Lyons, who denies being a white supremacist and called himself a “Christian attorney of Southern ancestry” in an interview with the New York Times, filed a similar lawsuit against the University of Texas after it removed Confederate statues on its campus.

From the motion in Dallas: “The Monument communicates minority political speech that the City has agreed to has been (sic) promoting for over a century.” Here’s more of note from the lawsuit, filed this morning against the mayor and City Council:

Defendants’ removal of the Monument without procedural due process will abridge the political speech of the monument. Defendants are state actors who are ordaining the political meaning of political symbols in a public forum. This government determination of political symbols in a public forum without a showing of any compelling interest in making the determination and without due process is a continuing irreparable harm…

Shortly after the City Council’s vote Wednesday morning, a crane moved in and crews began work around the statue at Lee Park. Workers at the scene said that city records did not indicate how deeply anchored the bronze statue was into its mount, which may explain why it was still standing around 4:30 p.m., when crews received news of the restraining order and were forced to stop working. So the statue will continue to stand for now.

U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater, of the Northern District of Texas, granted the restraining order and set a hearing for Thursday at 1:30 p.m. Fitzwater’s last newsworthy ruling came in April 2016, when he sided with the city in banning a sex expo from the convention center.

Here’s the motion for the restraining order, and here’s Fitzwater’s order granting it.

Comments

  • C Newman

    Goodness. Finish this nonsense already.

  • JamieT

    I though the “white supremacist lawyer” was a particularly fine bit of devil-may-care journalism. Does he practice “white supremacist” law? If so, what does that particular set of legal codes involve? Or maybe it’s something like a “rapist lawyer”, or a “pedophile lawyer”, or a…::shudder::…”criminal lawyer” – you know, one whose hands can never, EVER be clean again.

    But I should stop here. Last time I posted an informative, outside the bubble link about the SPLC, FrontBurner flushed the entire post down the memory hole in shame.

    • Mavdog

      IDK, perhaps it relates to his previous acts such as “his infamous wedding at the Aryan Nations compound in a ceremony officiated by longtime Aryan Nations leader and Christian Identity preacher, Richard Butler.”????

      If it talks like a white supremacist, and walks like a white supremacist, chances are it is a white supremacist.

  • PeterTx52

    “described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “white supremacist lawyer,”” and you believe what the SPLC says? they have been shown to be extremely biased, and i’m disappointed that D Magazine would even reference them.
    “Conservatives sign letter warning media against Southern Poverty Law Center”
    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/09/06/conservatives-sign-letter-warning-media-against-southern-poverty-law-center.html

  • Zapedowski

    What the heck was this Judge thinking granting this TRO. The plaintiffs lack standing. There is no requirement of due process for removing a statue. The motion sounds barely coherent.

  • Ron Swanson

    Hope they make the right decision.

    Which in case you didn’t know, is to leave the statue right where it is and dispense with all this silliness. And yep, that’s exactly what it is.