The Attorney Who Filed The Restraining Order Against Today’s Attempted Removal Of Dallas’ Robert E. Lee Statue Is A Neo-Confederate With Aryan Nation Ties.
The big hoopla in local government today was supposed to be about the fact that Dallas City Council voted almost unanimously (13-1) to immediately remove the statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from its namesake park.
But as crowds formed at Lee Park to either celebrate or protest the removal, and as a construction crew working to remove the statue took its sweet time figuring out how to best do so, a Confederacy-loving local and a lawyer from North Carolina changed the narrative, taking advantage of the slow process and looking to the courts for some reprieve.
And, because nothing around here can happen easily, they got what they sought, allowing the statue to stay up for at least one more night.
Just before 5 p.m., construction workers that had been on the job for hours dispersed from Robert E. Lee Park in Uptown as word came down that U.S. district judge Sidney Fitzwater had granted a temporary restraining order against the City of Dallas and its efforts to remove the statue. The motion was filed by Texas A&M safety manager Hiram Patterson, who is also a member of the Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, on the grounds that the removal of the statue was an abridgment of freedom of speech and part of, in the lawsuit’s own words, the Dallas government’s “Orwellian agenda.”
But while Patterson filed the paperwork, the motion itself was prepared by Kirk Lyons, an attorney who works primarily out of North Carolina. This kind of work seems right up Lyons’ alley, too: He’s been officially labeled as an extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center because he mostly works with the Southern Legal Resource Center, a group that has become the de facto legal wing of the neo-Confederate movement. Lyons, like Patterson, was once an active member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, but his affiliation with white power groups like the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nation and the White Patriot Party have long made him a controversial figure, as well as a past point of pubic issue within the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ own ranks.
Still, his views on white supremacy aside, he has remained licensed to practice law in the state of Texas since 1984, according to the State Bar of Texas’ own database.
Whether Patterson and Lyons are successful in their effort to halt the Lee statue’s removal will be determined soon. A hearing on the future of the statue is scheduled for Thursday, September 7, at 1:30 p.m.
Update at 2:35 p.m. on September 7, 2017: Following the scheduled hearing, Fitzwater dissolved the restraining order, citing the plaintiffs’ inability to prove that the removal of the statue was in any way an abridgment of the plaintiffs’ freedom of speech. Per various media reports, however, city council member Dwaine Caraway said the statue would not come down today.