Is Charlottesville’s Robert E. Lee Statue Illegal?
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
Tomorrow, a judge in Charlottesville will hear arguments about whether the city can take down the Robert E. Lee statue in the center of downtown. The judge’s decision will certainly reverberate in the aftermath of events three weekends ago, when white supremacists invaded our town and murdered one of our citizens, ostensibly to protest the City Council’s initial vote to remove the statue.
The question before the court, however, is a fairly straightforward one: Does a Virginia statute bar Charlottesville from taking down or moving a statue of a Confederate general erected in 1924? There are certainly some ambiguities in the law, but this central question can easily be answered in the negative.