Florida Men Sad Racist Monument Was Moved, Even Sadder When Court Tells Them To Suck It
In the midst of a national conversation about systemic racism, a conservative federal appellate court based in Georgia ... did the right thing in a suit about a Confederate monument! Nice times!
Earlier this week, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals told some racists who were whining about the relocation of a Confederate monument to pound sand, ruling they didn't have standing to even bring the case in the first place.
Gardner v. Mutz is about a cenotaph (empty tomb/monument) for Confederate veterans that used to sit in the Munn Park historic district, in the town square of Lakeland, Florida. Incredibly, the monument was never even going to be destroyed or put into a private collection; it was simply moved to a different spot. Rather than sitting in a place of honor in the town square, it's now placed in a veteran's cemetery.
Yeah, it's all dumb.
Some racist idiots, Wade Steven Gardner, Randy Whittaker, and Mary Joyce Stevens, teamed up with Southern War Cry, the Judah P. Benjamin Camp #2210 Sons of Confederate Veterans, Veterans Monuments of America, and Save Southern Heritage to fight against the monument's relocation. Of the organizations involved in this case, the only one that doesn't exist solely and explicitly to preserve monuments to slavery and white supremacy is Veterans Monuments of America.
Amazingly, the plaintiffs in this case put their bigotry and ignorance on full display, arguing that they were trying to "vindicate the cause for which the Confederate Veteran fought[.]" Because apparently they never got the memo that "owning" other people is, you know, a bad thing.
The legal arguments here are so fucking stupid that I was amazed these fools had even found a lawyer to bring the case — until I googled their lawyer.
The plaintiffs were represented by David McAllister, a Florida Man who leads the Tampa chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and acted as a spokesperson for Save Southern Heritage Florida, which exists to protect monuments to slavery and racism. Save Southern Heritage Florida is known for doxxing civil rights activists and calling them things like "resentful black man," "resentful black woman," and "anti-law enforcement" in a spreadsheet posted on their website. McAllister also recently ran for the Florida state legislature as a "pro-Trump Republican," with a platform based on protecting racist monuments, letting people have all the guns and bump stocks they want, and discriminating against pregnant people.
So yeah. All of the people on the plaintiff's side here are real gems, lawyer included.
When the racists filed their suit, Lakeland hadn't yet moved the monument. After the case was dismissed by the District Court, the plaintiffs appealed to the 11th Circuit but, for reasons passing understanding, didn't ask for a stay. Because the plaintiffs never even asked for a stay, the city was able to relocate the cenotaph. By the time the appellate court heard the case, the statue was already in its current location. (Legally speaking, trying to get a court to make the government move a statue is even fucking dumber than trying to get a court to make the government keep a statue up.)
In dismissing the appellant racists' claims, the court found that they never actually had the standing to sue in federal court in the first place. "Standing" is a legal doctrine that comes from the Constitution's requirement that federal courts can only hear actual "cases or controversies." Basically, standing means you have to actually be harmed by something in order to sue over it.
Because the coalition of racists never had standing to sue in the first place, the court didn't even get to the fun part of ripping apart their absurd First Amendment arguments, which is kind of sad. It would have been fun to watch a court rip apart this absolutely batshit "hurr durr FREE SPEECH" lunacy.
As the court noted, to establish standing, a plaintiff must suffer "an invasion of a legally protected interest that is both concrete and particularized." (internal quotes omitted).
At oral argument in April, McAllister argued to the 11th Circuit that his clients had suffered "psychological damage" because of the racist statute's relocation. Which says a lot more about him and his clients than it does anything else. Shockingly, the court did not accept the plaintiffs' psychological distress at the relocation of a racist monument as significantly concrete and particularized to give them standing to sue in federal court. As the court held, the racist "interests" presented by the plaintiffs "are simply too vague, inchoate, and undifferentiated" to give them standing to sue.
So suck it, racist losers. And welcome to the 21st century. You can throw your complaint in the trash, where it belongs.
Here's the opinion:
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