Judge decides Lee and Jackson are protected
At a hearing on October 4, 2017 Charlottesville’s Judge Moore essentially told the city both monuments are staying where they are, and their tarps need to be temporary.
Judge Moore provided the parties a sixteen page letter ruling rejecting most of the Defendants' Demurrer, deciding that Virginia’s Monument Protection law (Va Code §15.2-1812) does prohibit removing both monuments. The judge differed with interpretations by a Danville judge, echoed by Virginia’s Attorney General, that the law only protects monuments in cities erected after 1997.
He also found all the Plaintiffs had standing to bring suit under the Monument Protection law, and that some (city citizen taxpayers) had standing to complain that city is acting illegally and without authority, called ultra vires.
He decided the City can rename Lee Park as Emancipation Park. Whether they can rename Jackson Park remains for trial (the name was specified as part of McIntire’s gift to the city).
What’s next: we will amend our Complaint to correct a drafting deficiency (omitting to call General Robert E. Lee “a Confederate veteran.”) If the judge deems the amendment acceptable, he will hold another hearing later this month to consider whether to extend the expanded injunction.
Meanwhile Defendants said they are preparing an interlocutory appeal. Presumably they mean to challenge the ruling on the Monument Protection law, before the Virginia Supreme Court. Accordingly we are retaining appellate Counsel.