RICHMOND (June 10, 2020) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has filed a notice in the Lee monument lawsuit in Richmond Circuit Court that he “intends to defend the Governor’s decision and ensure the removal of this divisive relic.” As Attorney General Herring explains in the notice, “the Governor has both the authority and the moral obligation to remove this badge of white supremacy from its place of exaltation.”
In explaining the significance of the Lee monument, Attorney General Herring says that “the statue is a daily reminder of one of the darkest periods in our Commonwealth’s and Nation’s history. The statue does not seek to explain or seek reconciliation for that time: it seeks to glorify it. It is a piece of state property freighted with exclusionary meaning to broad swaths of Virginians.”
Additionally, Attorney General Herring emphasizes that the Plaintiff did not notify the Attorney General or Governor of the suit, hearing, or injunction “despite filing suit in a circuit court less than two blocks away from the Office of the Attorney General,” nor was any notice received from the Court.
During his term, Attorney General Herring has taken numerous steps to remove racist Confederate iconography from public spaces. He has long called for the removal of Confederate monuments and repeal of the law that protected these monuments, and this session his team worked on the legislation to repeal it. He worked to allow Norfolk to remove a Confederate monument, helped remove a Confederate flag from city property in Danville, wrote an opinion that facilitated the renaming of Jefferson Davis Highway in parts of Northern Virginia, and won a court case to remove the Confederate battle flag from Virginia license plates.