A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that tried to block removal of a controversial Confederate Monument from the Caddo Parish Courthouse grounds in downtown Shreveport.
In October, the United Daughters of the Confederacy sued the Caddo Parish Commission to block removal of the monument after commissioners voted 7-5 to move the monument. In May, the parish asked U.S. District Judge Robert James to throw out that lawsuit. The UDC asked for a trial.
Wednesday, James ruled in favor of the Commission, contending it -- not the United Daughters of the Confederacy -- controls the land on which the monument sits.
“The Parish is pleased that it has the right to decide whether the monument can remain on the Courthouse grounds,” parish attorney Donna Frazier said in a written statement.
The UDC will appeal the ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2017, the Fifth Circuit ruled in a similar case that New Orleans could remove a statue of Robert E. Lee and three other monuments.
Confederate monuments in Louisiana and other states have been at the center of a national controversy over race. Opponents say the monuments are shameful reminders of slavery and need to go. Supporters say they represent a piece of history and should remain.
Last week, attorneys for both sides argued their cases during a hearing in Monroe, drawing on dusty deeds and depositions from historians and parish officials.
The UDC erected the monument in the early 1900s. The organization contends that it owns the land on which the monument sits, making the plot private property the Caddo Commission can’t touch. The parish contends it owns the entire block that makes up the courthouse square.
James had ruled against the United Daughters of the Confederacy twice – once in January and again in May – saying the organization so far has failed to prove that it owns the monument site as the result of an early 20th century donation by the parish.
So far, the parish hasn’t made specific plans to move the monument. Commissioners would have to vote to spend money to disassemble the monument and put it in storage or assemble it somewhere else.