Confederate Flag Banned From Parade

( The Confederate flag can indeed be banned from a local parade in Georgia, according to a ruling from a federal appeals court.

On Tuesday, the court ruled that the city of Alpharetta, Georgia, didn’t violate the constitutional rights of a group called Sons of Confederate Veterans. The city had banned the group from displaying the Confederate battle flag during a parade it was holding to honor veterans of American wars.

In August of 2019, Michael Dean and Richard Leake sued the city after officials said the group was allowed to participate in its annual Old Soldiers Day Parade, but they couldn’t display the Confederate battle flag.

The civil rights lawsuit that was filed in federal court was accusing the city of violating their right to free speech under both the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

In June 2020, U.S. District Judge William Ray initially ruled in favor of Alpharetta. His ruling said that the parade was equivalent to government speech. That decision was then appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The three-judge panel for that court heard arguments for the case last week, and then issued their opinion on Tuesday that upheld the ruling of the lower court.

In the opinion for the appeals court, William Pryor, the circuit chief judge, wrote:

“Because governments are not obliged under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to permit the presence of a rebellious army’s battle flag in the pro-veterans parades that they fund and organize, we affirm.”

Many Confederate statues, symbols and monuments have been removed from around the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd while he was in police custody in the summer of 2020.

Last year, Mississippi replaced its state flag, which used to be themed around the Confederate flag. In Virginia, Richmond removed a large statue of Robert E. Lee as well as other Confederate statues and monuments.

No one involved in the case decided to comment to the press regarding the court’s decision. Alpharetta was victorious in the decision, of course, but officials in the city ultimately decided to not hold the parade any more.

The city was promoting the parade as a way to “celebrate and honor all war veterans, especially those from Alpharetta, who have defended the rights and freedoms enjoyed by everyone in the United States of America.”

When the Roswell Mills Camp Sons of Confederate Veterans applied to the city in July 2019 to participate in the parade, they were notified that their application was denied.

Leake said the group’s plan was to have a truck that would pull a trailer with the members, who would be holding flags from the unit. He further said their organization was “dedicated to preserving the memory of our ancestors who served in the War Between the States and ensuring that the Southern view of that conflict is preserved.”

But James Drinkard, the city’s assistant administrator, responded to the group saying the parade was meant to unite the community. He raised concerns that the organization was focused only on honoring soldiers from the Confederacy.