- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 29, 2016

Confederate monuments at the center of a legal dispute in New Orleans will likely be vandalized if they’re allowed to stay standing, a city attorney told a federal appeals court this week.

Deputy city attorney Adam Swensek made the case for removal during oral arguments heard Wednesday by a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals tasked with deciding the fate of four statutes the city previously agreed to take down.

The New Orleans City Council voted 6-1 last December in favor of removing memorials honoring Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, and another dedicated to the “White League” militia. A coalition composed of four southern heritage groups sued to stop their removal, however, and a District Court judge’s decision to rule against that lawsuit earlier this year spurred an appeal heard Wednesday by the Fifth Circuit panel.

Mr. Swensek told the appeals judges that the city can expect vandals to target the statues if they’re ordered to stay, Courthouse News reported.

“This case is a simple case of whether the city has the power to remove its property,” the lawyer said. “If the City Council can put it up, we can take it down.”

“When folks are denied the democratic process, they seek other ways to [seek justice],” he added said, the likes of which therefore “poses a risk to property.”

Arguing for the plaintiffs, attorney Franklin Jones said the statues will suffer a worse fate if the appeals court lest the city dispose of them within taking every precaution necessary.

“All evidence supports that risk of irreparable harm to these monuments is substantial,” Mr. Jones argued, according to the Associated Press, adding there’s “… no harm whatsoever to the city to let them rest in peace for another year.”

“These are priceless works of art,” he said. “These are not just monuments you wrap a sling around and move” elsewhere.

The Fifth Circuit has not indicated when it plans on announcing its ruling. In the meantime, activists over the weekend protested a statue of Andrew Jackson they also wanted removed from a city square in New Orleans. A group calling itself Take Em Down Nola had said it would remove the statute during a demonstration on Saturday afternoon, spurring former klansman David Duke to lead a counter protest at Jackson Square in defense of the monument. Seven people were arrested, according to WWL-TV.

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