US appeals court to hear Florida Confederate monument debate

January 18, 2020 GMT

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — A federal appeals court will consider a dispute over the movement of a Confederate soldier from a prominent town square park to a veterans memorial park.

The Lakeland Ledger reports that the Atlanta-based court agreed to hear an appeal by Save Southern Heritage, which describes itself as a history and heritage group. An attorney for the group says oral arguments are set the week of April 20 before the court.

Lakeland officials decided to move the 109-year-old statue from the city’s Munn Park to the veterans memorial in March of last year. Since then Save Southern Heritage has tried to get the decision reversed.

The lawsuit claims the United Daughters of the Confederacy who paid $1,550 to erect the statute in 1910 had a right to see it legally protected where it stood. The lawsuit also contends the statue’s move violates voters’ will.

City officials have declined comment on the lawsuit.