A Confederate memorial in Arlington National Cemetery faced a temporary restraining order issued by a federal judge on Monday, halting its dismantling. The U.S. Army had begun disassembling the monument but suspended operations following the court order, which is set to expire on Wednesday night. A hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. EST will determine whether the judge’s order remains in effect.
Judge Rossie Alston, appointed by Trump, issued the restraining order, blocking any actions to “deconstruct, tear down, remove, or alter the object of this case.” Alston emphasized the seriousness of court representations, warning of appropriate sanctions if found untrue or exaggerated. The restraining order was requested by Defend Arlington, affiliated with Save Southern Heritage Florida, suing the Department of Defense over its decision to remove the memorial.
The lawsuit contends that the removal would desecrate, damage, and potentially destroy the long-standing memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery had previously stated it wouldn’t remove the base to avoid damage. The Army had initiated the disassembly before the restraining order, complying with the court’s directive by ceasing work.
A federal judge in the District of Columbia dismissed a similar lawsuit last week, filed by the same plaintiffs, seeking to block the memorial’s removal. The statue, unveiled in 1914, features a bronze woman representing the American South and holds symbolic items, with figures depicting controversial scenes. An independent commission recommended its removal last year as part of a broader report on renaming military bases associated with the Confederacy. Over 40 House Republicans wrote to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, arguing against the commission’s authority in recommending removal.