Virginia has always been the state with the most Confederate statues, but in recent weeks, and especially in the city that was once the capital of the Confederacy, the statues have been coming down.

The six-story-tall statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, a state-owned memorial that Gov. Ralph Northam has committed to taking down, is stuck in court, thanks to an injunction over a deed the state signed when it took on the statue.

Essentially, when the statue arrived in Richmond in the late 1800s, the state told landowners in the area that it would keep the monument intact — and the plaintiffs argue that if the statue were removed, the state would be violating its original promise.

“The issue in the Richmond Lee case is what we call private law, which is that there’s a property claim being made here that promises were made by the state to private property owners over 100 years ago,” said Richard Schragger, a professor of law at the University of Virginia.

When the court will move forward is unclear, but advocates of removing the statue, like Richmond City Council member Michael Jones, remain optimistic.

And now, even with Virginia law having been changed to allow localities to remove or relocate Confederate monuments, Charlottesville’s City Council and therefore the Lee statue remain stuck in a legal battle that originated from the original council vote.

The plaintiffs argued that removing the Lee statue in Charlottesville would violate the state law that prevented localities from doing just that.

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