One Virginia judge just slapped the city of Charlottesville in its attempt to remove the statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. The men fought for the confederacy, even though Lee wasn’t a die-hard secessionist or pro-slavery. And his actions after Appomattox all but guaranteed that no guerilla war would ensue after the Confederacy’s formal surrender. He knew it was over and he told his troops that. He and Jackson are part of American history. That cannot be erased—and both are some of the finest generals this nation has ever produced. The Battle of Chancellorsville, my favorite of the war, is a testament to that point. The city tried to say that the statutes were a 14th Amendment violation because it made people upset. The judge dismissed that garbage point and very plainly pointed out that it’s illegal to remove war memorials within a locality (via WTOP):
A judge in Charlottesville, Virginia has ruled the controversial statues to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Stonewall Jackson must stay.
More than two years after the Feb. 2017 vote by the Charlottesville City Council to remove the statue of Lee, which prompted a lawsuit against the city and was the impetus for what eventually became a deadly white nationalist rally, Circuit Court Judge Richard Moore ruled the memorials can’t be touched.
“Even though the city wants to remove the statues, the judge said it can’t,” said reporter Hawes Spencer, who was in the courtroom during Wednesday’s first day of the civil trial.
Spencer said the judge said the statute preserving war memorials has been amended numerous times over the years, “and that the iteration of it now existing is more about historical preservation than anything else.”
In its defense, the city had argued preventing the removal of the statues violated the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment by sending a racist message to people of color.
The judge’s ruling “really took the rug out from under the city,” said Spencer.
Spencer said Moore explained his decision: “He said whatever the original intent of the memorial, and we can’t really get into the heads of those who put these monuments to Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson up, today they exist as war memorials, and they are protected under Virginia law.”
Well, that’s the ballgame for now. We’ll see if the city appeals, but I doubt it. The statutes stand, a victory for American history.