Birmingham AL mayor covered a statue, some say in defiance of state law. Is that law constitutional? Does local opinion beat state opinion?
- MichaelLv 72 years agoFavorite Answer
I'm not familiar with the details of Alabama law, but apparently the state recently enacted a law to protect its Confederate monuments. According to a CNN story posted in May of this year,
"Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday signed the bill approving the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017.
The law -- directed at local governments -- bars the removal, renaming, removal and alteration of monuments, memorial streets, memorial buildings and architecturally significant buildings located on public property for 40 or more years."
The constitutionality of this law may ultimately be decided in the courts. However, *covering* a statue might be legal if a court were to interpret the prohibition against "alteration of monuments" narrowly. If the covering is not deemed part of the monument itself, the law has not been infringed. Perhaps the mayor decided that was the only legal way he could express his disapproval of these Confederate symbols.
The Techdirt website has noted another possible legal fight that could erupt with regard to these monuments - copyright and the "moral rights" of the sculptors as defined by the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990.
We shall have to wait and see how this all plays out....
- WRGLv 72 years ago
In most states (and I'm pretty sure Alabama is one of these states) cities are a creation of the state and state law would trump any local ordinance and it certainly outweighs a decision by a mayor.