The Fight must go on to save our Southern and Confederate heritage in this beautiful city:
Last week, on March 6, 2017, Judges Higginbothom, Elrod, and Higginson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit summarily upheld Judge Barbier’s ruling Monumental Task Committee v Foxx et al, (Confederate Era Monuments) 157 F.Supp.3d 573 (USDC EDLa, 26 January 2016) without further comment or opinion.
Back in the Fall of 2015, I suggested at one or more of the New Orleans City Council “Hearings” prior to the removal ordinance that the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) provided an alternative litigation strategy. Now that the first round attempts have failed, I wonder whether any of you would be willing to join with me, as pro-se plaintiffs if necessary, asserting that the monuments should not be taken down without an Environmental Impact Statement under NEPA. I know one lawyer who might take this case, but we would have to pay him. I could draft and prepare research (using the Westlaw access at Tulane Law Library if necessary).
If any of you would be willing to contribute your names, time, or money to this cause… or have a group, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will write back or call anyone who would be seriously interested in talking about this. Even the Monumental Task Committee itself could amend its complaint to include NEPA and abandon some of its counts which didn’t work. I looked at Judge Barbier’s opinion from last January again and it’s just a denial of a Preliminary Injunction, not a final judgment, so there won’t be any problem with res judicata…even though they lost the first round, they could apply again for a new injunction. In short, NOTHING IS OVER AND DONE WITH YET. THIS STORY COULD JUST BE BEGINNING if we have the will to fight…
We could certainly discuss this proposal here on Facebook, also. I know that the preservation of the monuments is at least in part a political question, but so is the preservation of the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. NEPA permits us to argue that these monuments are part of the social and cultural fabric of the city, that New Orleans is heavily subsidized by the Federal Government, and that no Federal Funds, or subsidized city funds, should be spent on this project without a full Environmental Impact Statement.
I would suggest that we could lend more weight to this argument if we were to propose that the monuments are embedded in the Victorian Matrix of the City, and that, in fact, New Orleans’ Victorian Architecture and Heritage, including these monuments, should be preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site…. Again, I made this proposal on the floor of the City Council meetings about 18-15 months ago. Some of you may have heard me, but nobody was willing to join me at that point.
The Monumental Task Committee did a heroic job, but it was not legally imaginative or creative. 17 December 2015 Monumental Task Force Verified Complaint for Declaratory & Injunctive Relief, USDC EDLA, 2015_WL_9302986 17 December 2015 Monumental Task Force Verified Complaint for Declaratory & Injunctive Relief, USDC EDLA, 2015_WL_9302986.
I suggest that there are other avenues we could explore, but I sure don’t want to try it alone…