Federal judge halts removal of Confederate monument at Arlington National Cemetery

The order, issued by Judge Rossie Alston, blocks 'any acts to deconstruct, tear down, remove, or alter the object of this case.'

Federal judge halts removal of Confederate monument at Arlington National Cemetery
AP Photo/Kevin Wolf
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On Monday, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the removal of a Confederate memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

According to a statement from a cemetery spokesperson to Fox News, the U.S. Army had started the process of dismantling the monument but stopped due to the order. This restraining order is set to expire on Wednesday night. A court hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. EST to determine if the judge's order will continue to be enforced.

The order, issued by Judge Rossie Alston, blocks "any acts to deconstruct, tear down, remove, or alter the object of this case."

In a footnote, Alston stated that he "takes very seriously the representations of officers of the Court and should the representations in this case be untrue or exaggerated the Court may take appropriate sanctions."

The group Defend Arlington, which is connected to the organization Save Southern Heritage Florida, sought the restraining order. They filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defense on Sunday, challenging the decision to dismantle the memorial.

"The removal will desecrate, damage, and likely destroy the Memorial longstanding at ANC as a grave marker and impede the Memorial's eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places," the lawsuit stated.

Arlington National Cemetery previously stated that it would not remove the base of the monument to prevent any potential damage.

"The Army began disassembly of the monument atop the Confederate Memorial prior to the court issuing the temporary restraining order," an Arlington National Cemetery spokesperson said. "The Army is complying with the restraining order and has ceased the work begun this morning."

Last week, a lawsuit filed by the same plaintiffs, which aimed to stop the removal of the memorial, was dismissed by a federal judge in the District of Columbia.

Unveiled in 1914, the statue depicts a bronze woman adorned with olive leaves, standing atop a 32-foot pedestal, symbolizing the American South. Arlington notes that she is holding a laurel wreath, a plow stock, and a pruning hook. At her feet is a biblical inscription that reads: "They have beat their swords into plough-shares and their spears into pruning hooks."

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