City, Confederate monument backers meet again in federal court

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - The city of New Orleans and the group trying to stop the city from taking down four Confederate monuments went before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday morning to argue their case.

The 5th Circuit is hearing an appeal from the Monument Task Committee, which has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the city from removing  the monuments of P.G.T. Beauregard, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and the Battle of Liberty Place. The city voted to remove the statues in December 2015, but they remain standing because of the pending lawsuits.

The MTC claims that the land on which the Beauregard monument resides was donated and that the group has property interest in these statues.

An attorney for the  city cited the U.S. Constitution and said, similar to freedom of speech, the city has the right to speak or not speak, keep them up or take them down. He clarified that there is no desire to destroy these statues, but simply to put them in a city-owned facility until a decision has been made about further display of these confederate monuments.

"The city says they own the land. It's their land. They can put something up. They can take something down,” said Bill Quigley, a law professor at Loyola University who represents Take Em' Down Nola, a group working on

The MTC has asked the city to keep them up for the remainder of litigation, citing that the city has no reliable contractor to remove the monuments. The city's attorney said the contractor they had originally hired to do the job received death threats and backed out of the deal.

This process could take weeks, or even months, despite the cities request to expedite to process.