Virginia Isn’t Bound by 1890 Deed to Perpetually Display Robert E. Lee Monument
Today’s Virginia Supreme Court decision in Taylor v. Northam (unanimous opinion by Judge Bernard Goodwyn) deals with an 1890 deed, which conveyed a Robert E. Lee monument to the State, with the provision that,
The State of Virginia, party of the third part acting by and through the Governor of the Commonwealth and pursuant to the terms and provisions of the [1889 Joint Resolution] executes this instrument in token of her acceptance of the gift and of her guarantee that she will hold [the Lee Monument and the Circle] perpetually sacred to the Monumental purpose to which they have been devoted and that she will faithfully guard it and affectionately protect it.
In 2020, Governor Ralph Northam decided to remove the Lee Monument from the donated land, and plaintiffs objected. The court concluded, in part:
The merits of the arguments for and against the retention of the Lee Monument in its present location are for the political branches to consider. Our function as a Court is to address the legal claims before us. The essence of our republican form of govern
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