|RICHMOND (July 21, 2020)—Today Attorney General Mark R. Herring and his team presented arguments to Richmond Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant in support of Attorney General Herring’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit and dissolve the injunction that blocks removal of the state-owned Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond.
“It is past time for this divisive, antiquated relic to come down,” said Attorney General Herring.”This grandiose monument to a racist insurrection stands on public land as a daily, painful reminder of Virginia’s past, but it does not represent who we are as a Commonwealth today or who we wish to be in the future. It was raised as part of a deliberate effort to intimidate and demean black Virginians and it should come down as part of a deliberate effort to heal, reconcile, and grow. I remain dedicated to ensuring the prompt removal of this statue so that our community can heal and move forward towards a more equitable future.”
Judge Marchant took the Gregory case under advisement, indicating he hoped to deliver an opinion within a week. He also heard a recently filed request from a set of Monument Avenue residents who also seek an injunction to keep the statue up, but took that request under advisement, as well.
Attorney General Herring’s motion to dismiss the suit is available here. It makes it clear that the plaintiff lacks standing to block removal of the statue, and that even if he had standing it wouldn’t matter because the plan to remove the statue is lawful. The brief makes the case for not just why the statue can be taken down, but why it should be taken down, recounting the statue’s prominent role in perpetuating Lost Cause propaganda and promoting racially segregated neighborhoods in Richmond.