Ala. Supreme Court fines City of Birmingham over Confederate monument

Updated: Nov. 27, 2019 at 10:50 AM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Alabama Supreme Court has reversed a Circuit Court decision over a Confederate monument in Linn Park.

The City of Birmingham was fined $25,000.

In the opinion of the court, one of the judges wrote the $25,000 fine may not be enough to keep other cities from violating the state law.

Former Birmingham Mayor William Bell ordered the monument to be covered with plywood in 2017.

We spoke with the state lawmaker who sponsored the monuments bill. Senator Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa says the city broke the law and he’s pleased with Wednesday’s ruling.

"I think it’s important to protect history..all history regardless of what it may be. We all can learn from the past..the good, bad and ugly whatever it may be. History as a way teaching us the things of the past that we certainly don’t want to go and do things over again,” Senator Allen, R-Tuscaloosa said.

Rick Journey, Director of Communications in the Office of Public Information for the City of Birmingham released this statement:

“We are strongly disappointed with the ruling of the Alabama Supreme Court. This ruling appears to be less about the rule of law and more about politics. We are carefully reviewing the opinion to determine our next step, but clearly the citizens of Birmingham should have the final decision about what happens with monuments on Birmingham city grounds.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall emailed this statement:

“The Alabama Supreme Court reached the correct conclusion today in reversing the Jefferson County Circuit Court decision striking down Alabama’s Memorial Preservation Act,” said Attorney General Steve Marshall. “The Supreme Court’s ruling is a victory for the Alabama law which seeks to protect historical monuments. The City of Birmingham acted unlawfully when it erected barriers to obstruct the view of the 114-year-old Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Linn Park.”

“I wish to thank the staff of the Attorney General’s Constitutional Defense Section, including Assistant Attorney General Brad Chynoweth, for their hard work in seeing this case to a successful conclusion,” added Attorney General Marshall.

You can read the Alabama Supreme Court’s opinion here.

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