A new development in the legal fight over a Confederate monument in downtown Birmingham. State attorney general Steve Marshall Friday asked a court to stay its order striking down a law protecting the monument.
Contending that the ruling by former Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Michael Graffeo, a Democrat, is likely to be overturned on appeal, Marshall sought a stay for the purposes of preventing the city from taking action, including the possible destruction of the monument.
Marshall sued the city in 2017, after then-mayor William Bell, in the middle of an ultimately unsuccessful reelection campaign, ordered the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors monument covered in plywood.
State law prohibits municipalities from removing or altering historical statues and monuments. Graffeo ruled that the law amounts to an unconstitutional violation of the city's free speech rights. Marshall asserts that the ruling is incorrect. “Federal constitutional law, recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court for over 100 years, is clear that ‘…a political subdivision, created by the state for the better ordering of government, has no privileges or immunities under the federal constitution which it may invoke in opposition to the will of its creator,” Marshall said.
Marshall is appealing to the Alabama Supreme Court.