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Court asked to reconsider allowing Lee statue removal

September 29, 2021 GMT
FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, file photo, the top part of the General Robert E. Lee statue is lifted during its removal on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. Plaintiffs who failed to block the statue's removal want Virginia’s Supreme Court to reconsider its decision allowing it. (Daniel Sangjib Min/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, file photo, the top part of the General Robert E. Lee statue is lifted during its removal on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. Plaintiffs who failed to block the statue's removal want Virginia’s Supreme Court to reconsider its decision allowing it. (Daniel Sangjib Min/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, file photo, the top part of the General Robert E. Lee statue is lifted during its removal on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. Plaintiffs who failed to block the statue's removal want Virginia’s Supreme Court to reconsider its decision allowing it. (Daniel Sangjib Min/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — An enormous statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was cut into pieces and hauled away from Richmond’s Monument Avenue three weeks ago, but plaintiffs who failed to block the removal want Virginia’s Supreme Court to reconsider its decision allowing it.

Four property owners filed a request Wednesday with the high court for a rehearing, alleging the justices made “several fundamental errors” in their Sept. 2 decision, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

The unanimous ruling observed that “values change and public policy changes too” in a democracy. The court cited testimony from historians who said the enormous statue was erected in 1890 to honor the southern white citizenry’s defense of a pre-Civil War life that depended on slavery and the subjugation of Black people.

Restoring the monument would be ideal for the plaintiffs, but lawyer Patrick M. McSweeney said his clients “don’t think the state owns and controls the monument.” The state wants to keep the monument and land while disavowing promises made to obtain them.

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“Such a result allows the Commonwealth to take property without compensation,” the petition states.