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Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: Sons of Confederate Veterans Federal Lawsuit

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sons of Confederate Veterans Federal Lawsuit

The Lawsuit: The Sons of Confederate Veterans hereby give notice of the intention to file a federal action against the City of Lexington, in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Virginia, Roanoke Division on Thursday, January 12, 2012. The Sons are represented by the law firm of Strickland, Diviney, and Strelka of Roanoke which has worked in conjunction with The Rutherford Institute, a Civil Liberties organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Attorneys Thomas E. Strelka and Correy Diviney are serving as lead counsel.

Conference: The Sons and their attorneys will hold a Press Conference at the steps of the Federal Courthouse located at 210 Franklin Road in Roanoke at 3PM on January 12th. If weather is severe, the press conference will occur at the law offices of Strickland, Diviney, and Strelka located nearby at 23 Franklin Road, Roanoke.

Background and Merits: This case is to be filed by the Sons in reaction to the City Council of Lexington’s adoption of a flag and banner ordinance. The Sons assert that the ordinance was adopted due to the sole reason of the City's disapproval of the Sons’ Constitutional rights to display historic Virginia state and Confederate flags. The Sons requested that these flags be hung for the annual observance and ceremonies for Lee-Jackson day in January, 2011. The Sons advised the City Council that it believed the adoption of the ordinance would be a violation of a 1993 Federal Court Order and Consent Decree. The Court Order was entered subsequent to a prior dispute between the Sons and the City over the public display of Confederate flags.

The Order, endorsed by a Judge of the Western District of Virginia, provides: “The City of Lexington . . . [shall not] deny or abridge the right of the plaintiff organization or its members . . . to wear, carry display or show, at any government-sponsored or government-controlled place or event which is to any extent given over to private expressive activity, the Confederate Flag or other banners, emblems, icons, or visual depictions designed to bring into public notice any logo of ‘stars and bars’ that ever was used as a national or battle flag of the Confederacy.” The federal action to be filed will further contend that the ordinance is a violation of the Son's First and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the Constitution.

The filing requests that the Court issue a Judgment against the City for equitable relief; find the City Council and officers to be of civil contempt; requests the awarding of attorney’s fees, costs and sanctions; requests compensatory, liquidated and punitive damages; and requests such other and further relief as may be just.


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