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Herring’s opinion on Confederate monuments appears to mean Leesburg statue can’t be moved

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Local governments can relocate or remove Confederate monuments from their jurisdictions depending on the restrictions that affect the locality’s particular monuments, Attorney General Mark Herring (D) said in an advisory opinion Friday.

Although not binding, Herring’s latest opinion clarifies that the 109-year-old Confederate statue on the courthouse grounds in downtown Leesburg is protected under state code.

Herring said that because the existing state law was passed in 1904, it does not apply to any monument or memorial built prior to then. The Confederate statue in Leesburg was dedicated on the courthouse in 1908.

Herring’s opinion comes as localities around the commonwealth -- including in Loudoun County -- are grappling with whether to remove their decades-old statues from public spaces following deadly protests in Charlottesville earlier this month. The protests were sparked by the city council voting to remove the statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park.

The attorney general cautioned that “a number of factors” could impact a locality's ability to remove or relocate a war or veterans monument, and that each of those factors would likely presents “a unique circumstance that would require careful analysis to determine which, if any, might limit local authority.”

Herring issued his opinion in response to an inquiry from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources Director Julie Langan, who asked how the provisions of state code 15.2-1812 or others, could impact the authority of localities in removing or relocating war or veterans monuments on property owned or controlled by the locality.

The attorney general said that three categories of legal restrictions could affect a locality's ability in relocating or removing Confederate monuments.

He said it would first depend on how the state code was applied to localities’ particular monument. Herring also said that some monuments could be subject to restrictions found in “instruments transferring ownership of the monument to the locality or local governmental entity or restrictions imposed as a result of subsequent actions of the locality.”

“A careful investigation of the circumstances surrounding the individual monument must be completed by the locality to determine which legal restrictions may apply,” he said.

Last week, Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) announced that because state code prevents Loudoun County from moving its 109-year-old Confederate soldier statue from the courthouse grounds in downtown Leesburg, she planned to ask the General Assembly to give localities greater discretion over war monuments and memorials within their jurisdiction.

But the chairwoman’s announcement has been met with criticism. Some argue Loudoun already has the authority on its own to move the statue. Critics point to a decision out of Danville, where a judge ruled that state code did not apply to monuments built before 1998.

They also say a statement Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) issued after he vetoed a bill that would have clarified the current state code and protected war monuments “regardless of when erected” reaffirms localities have the authority to move Confederate statues on their own.

Herring noted that, in addition to constraints on localities from the current state code, many monuments around the state existed because of specific acts of the General Assembly.

The attorney general also pointed out that jurisdictions might not be able to remove their war monument because they were donated to them and thus“subject to reversionary terms or conditions in the transfer instrument triggered by the locality's attempt to remove or disturb the monument.”

According to Loudoun County, the Confederate statue in Leesburg was dedicated to the courthouse in 1908. It was not immediately clear whether the statue is subject to any reversionary terms or conditions.

“In my opinion, local governments must consider a number of potential restrictions that may apply to removal or relocation of a war or veterans monument as a function of general law, special Act of Assembly, or other limitations such as those imposed upon the donation or conveyance of the monument or limitations arising from participation in a preservation or funding program by action of the locality,” Herring concluded.

Earlier this week, officials in Norfolk also asked Herring for an advisory opinion on whether state law would allow for the city’s downtown Confederate monument to be moved to a cemetery, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

In 2015, Herring said in an opinion to the Danville city attorney that state code applied to “monuments for any war conflict, including an engagement in such war or conflict, or for war veterans, but not to memorials or markers erected to recognize the historical significance of buildings.”

Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @SydneyKashiwagi.


Equity - Yet in each of the protests or marches you’ve cited, the left was the aggressor, and violent aggressor at that.

Can we get rid of Antifa?...they seem to be spreading their love one assualt at a time.  such a tolerant and loving people they are…(sarcasm)

Anybody who’s been paying attention to these stories regarding VA specifically already knew this.  Gotta find a different avenue if people would like these monuments to be removed from the anals of history.

bigger issues than statues -
lawless “president” pardons favorite birther (oops, 2nd favorite after self) for crimes against the constitution
forgets to call some of his supportive base what they are - radical domestic terrorists

left did NOT come to ch’ville armed for a riot
nor to boston to destroy democracy yet pretend it was free speech
nor to women’s march to do anything but support each other and all things under attack by the “president”

left came to ch’ville to stop neo-nazis, white supremacists, kkk, anti-semites and other hate groups from terrorizing a va town
left came to display humanity, equality, and love in boston
many came to women’s march to display unity and resist peacefully

maybe those 500 in hate groups should sign up to take place of those lgbtq experienced soldiers who are being ousted for discrimination?

So much for Delegate Minchew’s “Rule of Law” analysis.


Liberals are obsessed with stopping what YOU’RE doing instead of enjoying what THEY’RE doing. They protest everything under the sun until we’re all miserable.

The good news is that America rejected the left and its proliferation of the Culture Wars by not electing Hillary back in November: your average hard-working American just doesn’t want to deal with leftist nonsense anymore. Conservatives control the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives and the SC…our momentum is only growing stronger: ANTIFA & BLM are the Right’s best recruiting tools, because they turn off so many regular Americans who might have voted blue, thanks guys!

Tearing down statues is the last ditch effort of leftist cultural jihadists who have no respect for our country. Conservative Americans, Centrists, and even moderate Democrats who are in favor of law and order and who understand & respect the history of our country need to stick together and not allow leftist mob mentality to rule the day.


Well, well, well…

“All the World’s a Stage”:

But we can remove Herring, which is a good thing….

If your cause is righteous, you don’t need to cover your face.

The law is the law. You cannot move any Confederate Statue without approval from the General Assembly. Liberals need to go back to their bubble, this debate is over.

Jeanne T—they did it because the Left is a violent mob in the street.  Why are they wearing dark hoods and covering their faces if their motives are good and pure?

So why did vandals decapitate the statue of Revolutionary War Colonel William Crawford, located outside of the courthouse in Crawford County in Ohio? Damage was estimated at $75,000. No one yet knows the motivation.

“Crawford fought in both the French-Indian War and the American Revolutionary War and was friends with George Washington. He was burned and tortured by members of the Delaware Indian tribe in 1782 in retaliation for a massacre that left 100 dead.”

Col. Crawford was not involved in the Gnadenhutten massacre, also known as the Moravian massacre.

The Moravian massacre “was the killing of 96 Christian Lenape (Delaware) by colonial American militia from Pennsylvania on March 8, 1782 at the Moravian missionary village of Gnadenhutten, Ohio during the American Revolutionary War.” (Wikipedia)

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