LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A judge in Louisville has given the city the go-ahead to remove an 1895 Confederate monument by dismissing a lawsuit that sought to keep it at its original site.
In a written ruling, Jefferson Circuit Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman said the city had the right to remove the stone obelisk near the University of Louisville that was built as a tribute to dead Confederate soldiers. Mayor Greg Fischer has pledged to have the monument cleaned and moved to a new location, though that site has not been chosen.
Burkman's ruling Thursday echoed her orders after a May 25 hearing over her restraining order that temporarily halted the statue's removal.
The judge noted the historical significance of the century-old monument but wrote that it's also a divisive symbol in Louisville.
"The monument is a public object that is respected by many in the community. It is also reviled by many," Burkman wrote.
Calls and an email to attorney Thomas McAdam, who represents the Sons of Confederate Veterans, were not returned Monday.
Burkman heard several hours of testimony during the May hearing from the monument's supporters, who argued that the city does not own it and that it could be damaged or crumble if it is removed.
After the hearing, Burkman lifted the temporary restraining order that barred the city from removing the monument.
Mayor Fischer and University of Louisville President James Ramsey have pledged to move the monument to "an appropriate historical venue in the near future." Until then, it would be put in storage.
The statue was given to the city by the Kentucky Woman's Monument Association in 1895. It includes three bronze statues of Confederate soldiers and an inscription that says it is a "tribute to the rank and file of the armies of the South."