Judge rules Dallas can take down Robert E. Lee statue

A federal judge ruled Thursday that officials in Dallas can go forward with removing a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a city park, one day after he issued a temporary restraining order halting its removal.

The Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans claimed that the Dallas City Council's vote to remove the statue from its namesake park in Dallas' Oak Lawn neighborhood violated the First Amendment and the right to due process.

The city disagreed, saying the group had no standing to contest its decision, because "being insulted by or disagreeing with the plans for the monument does not equate to a specific injury."

U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater agreed with the city and lifted the restraining order following a hearing.

The city council voted 13-1, with one abstention, to remove the monument Wednesday afternoon. A crane to hoist the statue off its podium was already in place when Judge Fitzwater issued his restraining order halting the work.

It was not immediately clear when the statue would be taken down. The city plans to place the statue in a storage facility until a task force comes up with a final recommendation for where it should go.

That task force was scheduled to meet Thursday night to start discussions on what to do with the statue, as well as other Confederate symbols and names across the city.

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