Virginia Supreme Court denies rehearing request in Robert E. Lee statue removal case

Virginia News

Crews remove one of the country’s largest remaining monuments to the Confederacy, a towering statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Supreme Court has refused to reconsider its unanimous decision that cleared the way for the Robert E. Lee statue’s removal over a month ago.

The court denied a rehearing request, a motion for clarification and all relief requested from the plaintiffs who filed legal efforts challenging the state’s authority to take down the Confederate monument. While the lawsuits held up the removal process for more than a year, the Lee statue was ultimately hoisted off its pedestal in early September.

The plaintiffs, four Monument Avenue property owners, filed the motion three weeks after the statue was taken down, accusing the high court of making “several fundamental errors” in its unanimous ruling. The justices did not comment on the case in its decision Thursday, writing only that the plaintiffs’ requests were rejected.

In a statement Thursday, the office of Attorney General Mark Herring called the failed motion the “plaintiffs’ last ditch effort.”

“Attorney General Herring is proud of his work in this historic case, which resulted in the Lee statue being removed more than a month ago, following a unanimous decision from SCOVA that dissolved the injunction keeping the statue up,” Charlotte Gomer, Herring’s spokesperson, said in a statement. “He believes it is time for the Commonwealth to move away from a past when leaders of a racist insurrection were glorified to a future that tells our whole history fully and truthfully.”

The attorney representing the plaintiffs in the case did not answer calls from 8News on Thursday.

Lawsuits kept the Lee statue up for more than a year after Gov. Ralph Northam ordered its removal in June 2020. On Sept. 8, work crews removed the 21-foot (6-meter) bronze equestrian sculpture of the Confederate general from its pedestal, where it was then cut in half and shipped out of the city.

Stay with 8News for updates to this developing story.

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