The battle over Confederate monuments continues
A Newton County woman's lawsuit objecting to the removal of Confederate monuments from downtown Covington can move forward, the Georgia Supreme Court said in an opinion Tuesday.
By the numbers: Georgia is home to 281 buildings, roads, schools and other symbols honoring Confederate soldiers or figures. 110 of those symbols are monuments, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
- The majority of Confederate monuments were installed during Jim Crow era, according to Mark Elliott, a history professor at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.
Catch up quick: Amid national civil unrest and awareness about white supremacy and racism, the Henry County Commission voted in 2020 to remove a Confederate statue located in McDonough’s courthouse square.
- Two Sons of Confederate Veterans groups filed a lawsuit alleging that the county violated a 2019 state law requiring governments that remove Confederate monuments from public spaces to relocate them to a place of “similar prominence, honor, and visibility.”
- One week later, the groups and resident Tiffany Humphries filed similar lawsuits against Newton County over its plans to remove a statue in the Covington Square. That statue still stands.
Meanwhile: The justices upheld a lower court’s dismissal of claims filed by the SVC groups because they failed to show they were community members and therefore lacked standing, the court said.
The other side: Attorney Walker Chandler, who represented Humphries and the organizations, argued they have standing because the Confederate monuments law allows anyone — not just a "community stakeholder" — to file a legal challenge and seek damages.
- "Groups like the NAACP and Wildlife Federation sue on behalf of problems they see," he told Axios.
What's next: Chandler is also representing a Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter and a resident in a similar case against DeKalb County and Decatur over the removal of a 1908 Confederate obelisk in the city's square.
Yes, and: Chandler said he had not discussed the opinion in detail with his client but she and the SCV organizations "want the monument to stay there."
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