Talbot County officials want a federal lawsuit seeking removal of the Confederate monument from the county courthouse grounds dismissed, according to Wednesday court filings.
The Maryland Office of the Public Defender and the Talbot County NAACP filed a lawsuit in May seeking the removal of the monument from the grounds of the Talbot County courthouse lawn in Easton. Plaintiffs and advocates argue that the statue’s presence is racist and unconstitutional.
The plaintiffs say the presence of the monument on the courthouse lawn violates the U.S. Constitution’s 14th amendment, which guarantees due process and equal protection of laws. The lawsuit charges that the monument’s location is “facially discriminatory.”
But in a Wednesday motion to dismiss the case and a memorandum supporting that motion, attorneys for the county argue that the plaintiffs “have failed to state any claim upon which relief may be granted.”
“The Complaint alleges no specific example where any client of either Ms. Petticolas or the OPD was deprived of due process or equal protection due to the presence of the Talbot Boys statue on the Courthouse lawn,” the memorandum reads.
Attorneys for the county argue that the plaintiffs haven’t done enough to prove that the statue’s presence is discriminatory. The memorandum charges that plaintiffs “failed to identify any occasion that, because of the mere presence of the Talbot Boys statue, any Plaintiff or other member of the public was denied access to the Circuit Court or prevented in any way from petitioning the County for redress.”
The county, in the memorandum, also argues that the statue issue is a “political question.”
“The County respectfully submits that the issues raised by the Complaint are inherently local and not ones calling for the intervention of a federal court.
“This is so because the question of when, or where, Confederate symbology transgresses into an area of unlawfulness transcends judicial determination, just as does fashioning manageable judicial standards for resolution.”
The county’s attorneys further argue that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction in the case.
“The law governing this Complaint establishes Plaintiffs lack standing to bring any of the claims asserted,” the memorandum in support of the county’s motion to dismiss reads. “And, even if standing were not an issue, Plaintiffs have failed to state any claim upon which relief may be granted. For these reasons, the Complaint should be dismissed in its entirety.”
The memorandum also argues that all claims are barred by limitations, noting that the limitations period on all civil claims is, at most, three years:
“The Complaint alleges that Ms. Petticolas has ‘been obliged to pass by’ the statue for fourteen (14) years. The OPD’s alleged injuries are coextensive, at least, with the injuries alleged by Ms. Petticolas.
“Mr. Potter allegedly has been ‘directly involved with removal of the statue since 2015’ and became aware of its meaning when he was first involved with advocating for a statue of Frederick Douglass. The NAACP has been ‘for years’ speaking out against and advocating for removal of the statue, and its injuries must be, at least, coextensive with Mr. Potters.
“There can be no bona fide dispute that if Plaintiffs incurred an actionable injury, a point not conceded, the cause of action accrued when Plaintiffs first observed the statue as an offensive symbol, which, on the face of the Complaint occurred for all Plaintiffs well before the limitations period for Complaint began to run.”
Advocates have been lobbying for removal of the Talbot Boys statue from the courthouse lawn in Easton for years. Talbot County Council members rejected a proposal to move the statue last year, although rallies to remove the monument have continued.
Read the full memorandum here:8-1
By Bennett Leckrone
John Griep contributed to this article.
Letters to Editor
Gren Whitman says
Why is Talbot County’s government spending taxpayers’ dollars to defend a monument to white supremacy and treason?
Who decided to do this?
K. Alan Watts says
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Easton, Md. – July 7, 1821 — For Immediate Release . . . .
Physicians at world renowned Hahns Jopkins Medical Centre held a press conference in Easton, Maryland yesterday to assess the current health of Easton’s — and Talbot County’s — most infamous celebrity, purportedly in critical, but stable condition.
“Using the most advanced medical technologies in the world, it appears that the certain is slowly becoming the inevitable,” said C. Ory Pack. In furtherance thereof — and in what fellow medical professionals on N. Washington Street uncharacteristically (and charitably) described as “Stage 4,” — “The prognosis of The Courthouse’s “Verdigris Eccentricity” is not for the faint of heart,” stated L. Eter Pesher, one of five experts consulted — and a foremost authority on local doings.
Lead surgeon C. Huck Hellican stated “Although it should’ve been diagnosed long ago, a gangrenous green metal-eating (or was that mental-eating) bacteria apparently set in at birth during the last century,” afflicting the one affectionaly known in these parts as “The Boys.” Note: “Boy” not to be confused with “Boy” from “Me, Tarzan — You Jane” or “Boyz II Men” as remarkably, the “Little Green Man” has the unique capacity of turning some “Men” into “Boys.” His “flag” is really a ray-gun.
“We have been doing everything we can to save ‘The Boy’”, said Surgical Assistant and Part-Time Xerographer and Electrostatic Reproductive Specialist L. Pora Rice.
“At one time, (not unlike racism) it was no big deal,” she went on to observe while re-inking the Gestetner machine — but there are several on the five member “Surgical Team” who are now considering a course of treatment of what was once previously unthinkable — a resection practice commonly known by its nickname:
While similar groundbreaking medical endeavors have been undertaken recently around the Country (including hundreds of delicate sutures for The State Flag of Mississippi — which was in flailing and tattered health) — currently those with a willingness and the expertise to carry out said procedure locally have been few and far between within the hemisphere known as Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
The resection, relocation and removal are not, overall, terribly complicated — but the procedure has been hampered by numerous obstacles, including, but not limited to: 1) a lack of insurance for the procedure; 2) a day that doesn’t end in “Y”; and 3) an environmental impact study (it seems the grounds where the patient currently resides is contaminated. Something or other about the situs rumored as that of a former “slave market.” Hard to believe, no?
As “The Dowager Countess” (or was it “Lady Grace Talbot” exclaimed in “Downton Abbey,” “What is a ‘weekend’?” One can hear her now, exclaiming as she reaches for another helping of excuses, “Whatever is a ‘slave market’?” Or some such. https://youtu.be/zhfpBW-nUWk
In any event, as temperatures in the surgical suite continue to rise (a result of QAnon Cabal Warming), there yet remains hope that the homegrown abscess may be pierced, drained and the patient ever-so-gently relocated to a facility better suited for recuperation and rehabilitation.
Perhaps The Green Grove Home in New Jersey where Livia Soprano once resided. After all, she has passed over and rumor has it there’s an empty bed (One can hear Tony now: “Oh dats a nice little ‘ting youse gut der. Be a shame if somethin’ happened to it . . . .”).
And, as Livia once opined to AJ about life “It’s all a big nothing, what makes you think you’re so special?” https://youtu.be/wKatZlsH3FE The same can easily be said — and apply — to the ailing, ill-fated failing Boys . . . . .
What does make them “special,” indeed . . . . How can something so green symbolize something so sickly pale . . . . A shame if they passed slowly away in their own arms. Alone . . . .
About Hahns Jopkins Medical Centre
“Talbot County is home to the nation’s foremost facility dedicated to preserving the irrelevant. “Longevity of Obsolescence is our specialty,” said a “Joseph Seth,” an attorney long since dead but resurrected like Lazarus to defend the indefensible. (The Seths have, among other things, family immortalized by having a street named after them — a street scenically ending at a sewage treatment facility). For more information on “Green Patient Zero,” please call the medical staff at at (410) 770-8001. Our staff reporter reached out for additional comment, but has been on hold since 1916 . . . .
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