SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The United States Supreme Court has denied a petition by the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy to review the dismissal of their lawsuit to block the removal of a Confederate monument outside the Caddo Parish courthouse.
The UDC, which owns the monument, claims it has a private property interest in the land where it stands and that parish officials violated its rights to free speech and equal protection.
The suit was thrown out by a federal judge in Monroe last year, a decision that was later upheld by a federal appeals court.
The denial of the UDC’s petition means that fewer than four justices determined that the circumstances of the decision of the lower court warrant a review by the Supreme Court.
“Although we are disappointed by this news, we are not dissuaded in our fight to protect our monument. We fight on!” UDC spokeswoman Jackie Nichols said in a statement sent to KTAL/KMSS on the decision.
“The Parish is pleased that we have additional confirmation that we have the right to decide whether the Confederate monument can remain on the Courthouse grounds,” said Caddo Parish Attorney Donna Frazier in a statement released late Monday afternoon.
The Supreme Court’s decision not to review the case comes just over a month after the Caddo Parish Commission gave the UDC formal notice that they have 90 days to remove the monument, setting a deadline of November 26.
On September 30, the commission’s Long Range Planning/Special Projects Committee recommended setting aside $500,000 in city funds if the group doesn’t move the monument itself by mid-November.
“Do not fund the moving of the monument in your budget,” UDC spokeswoman Jackie Nichols told the commission on October 3. “Never has the Shreveport chapter said that we could or would pay for any moving of our monument.”
The organization has since released the findings of an expert witness they hired as part of their federal lawsuit that they say shows the monument is very fragile and could cost $1 million to be taken down safely.