On December 17th, 2015 the New Orleans City Council voted 6-1 to remove four historical monuments. Mayor Landrieu announced the removal of the monuments would happen within days.
Monuments erected to Robert E Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard, who were veterans of the US Army by serving in the Mexican-American #War, are scheduled for removal. A Fourth Monument currently commemorates 11 Police Officers who died defending an African-American Lt. Governor.
During the emotional meeting, the crowd participated by cheering speakers in favor, jeering speakers opposed, and chanting "No Justice- No Peace!!". The City Council did not allow a 10 minute response to Mayor Landrieu's 10 minute presentation to remove the monuments..
Four Louisiana Non-Profits expecting the vote in favor of removal, filed the suit stopping Mayor Landrieu's actions.
The four 501(c)(3) Plaintiff's in the case are Beauregard Camp No. 130 est. 1899, Louisiana Landmarks Society est. 1950, Foundation for Historical Louisiana est. 1963, and Monumental Task Committee est. 1989.
The lawsuit has twelve causes of actions, in general the case claims that a city council can not write ordinances which overrule Federal and State Law.
During the City Council debate process, no member asked the City Attorney for an opinion in public regarding Federal and State's Laws which might be violated.
The lawsuit specifies the Federal and State laws the City Council is violating to remove the monuments.
The First Cause of Action challenges violations of Department of Transportation Act (DOT) 49 U.S.C.* 101. At issue is the spending of private funds to remove the monuments to the detriment of the New Orleans Street Car Line and other Federal Transportation projects and violating 49 U.S.C.* 303 for harming the natural beauty of countryside, including historic sites..
The Second Cause of Action sites violations of the National Historic Preservation Act, 54 U.S.C. * 300101, 306108, & 300320.
The Third and Fourth Causes specify that relief is warranted per 5 U.S.C. * 702 and 42 U.S.C. * 1983.
The Fifth Cause of Action concerns Liberty Monument, erected in 1891, and claims it is protected via res judicata under a civil settlement from a 1992 case: "Schubert v. Kemp, et Al. No.91-cv-04446.
The Sixth Cause of Action states removal of three veteran monuments would be a violation of the Veterans Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act 18 U.S.C. *1369, which states it is a criminal offense to willfully injure or destroy any structure, statute or other monument on public property commemorating the service of any person in the Forces of the United State's.
The Seventh Cause of Action states that the City Attorney failed to notify as required under City Code *146-611 an action seeking removal of Liberty Monument.
The Eight Cause of Action states that the Council discriminated by not reviewing other monuments under the same criteria for removal including Andrew Jackson and the Buffalo Soldiers thus violating the 14th Amendment and 42 U.S.C.1983..
The Ninth Cause of Action cites the Louisiana Constitution Section 146-611, which gives the people the right to preserve, foster, and promote historic cultural origins.
The Tenth and Eleventh Causes of Action state New Orleans is not the full owner of the land, as the city transferred the land of the monuments to various non-profits.
The Twelfth Cause of Action challenges the Mayor's plan to use a private donation to remove the monuments has no check and balance and is a violation of City Code * 146-611(b) (3).
Liberty Monument reads: "A conflict of the past that should teach us lessons for the future." The current lesson is both sides will spend large sums of funded in legal fees.