- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 26, 2021

A group of Virginia residents are appealing a judge’s decision to allow Gov. Ralph Northam to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from Monument Avenue in Richmond.

The appeal filed Monday argues that Richmond Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant erred when he found the plaintiffs’ argument that the removal would violate restrictive covenants in the property deeds contradicts current public policy.

“A denial of property rights cannot be predicated on shifts in public attitudes. There must be a substantial threat to public health, comfort or welfare,” the 32-page appeal document states.

The judge ruled in October to allow one month for an appeal to be filed by the five plaintiffs, who are represented by attorneys Fred Taylor of Bush & Taylor P.C. and Patrick Sweeney.

The lawsuit has been ongoing since July when the Democratic governor ordered the statue to be removed amid nationwide protests over police brutality and racism.

State Attorney General Mark Herring said Monday that he will keep fighting to remove the monument “as quickly as possible.”

“Attorney General Herring remains committed to taking this divisive relic to Virginia’s racist past down as quickly as possible, so that the community can begin to heal and reclaim a space that has stood as a symbol of oppression for too long,” according to a press release.

The 60-foot equestrian statue was erected in 1890 along historic Monument Avenue and it is the last Confederate relic standing among more than one hundred American war heroes, according to The American Civil War Museum.

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