A federal judge on Friday ordered the removal of a flagpole that stands at the entrance to the Washington, D.C., Capitol, and ordered the city to remove it within 90 days.
In a written ruling, U.C. Berkeley District Court Justice Mark Goldsmith noted that the flagpole is in the midst of a public gathering and that the public “is entitled to see it.”
He added that the District of Columbia’s Constitution gives Congress “the authority to regulate the placement and display of flags” and that “there is no statutory basis for the District to remove the flag from the Capitol.”
The ruling was the second in a two-day trial that has drawn protests from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and other civil rights groups.
Goldsmith, who is black, said in a prepared statement that the flags represent “many important values of our nation” and said the government has “an obligation to remove them” from the National Mall.
The flagpole was erected in 1915 and is named after U.N. General Ulysses S. Grant.
The ruling came after a year-long legal battle between the Southern Poverty Law Center, a prominent hate group, and the city, which is owned by the United States.
The case is Goldsmith v.
D.c., 13-cv-1038, U, Docket No. 1:16-cv.1038-CV.
District of Columbia, UCC et al., docket number 1:2016cv-0902.