Lexington Flag Case Update
Word comes today that the an appeal in the SCV’s lawsuit against the City of Lexington will be heard on March 20 by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. Back in June, the district court dismissed the case, finding the ordinance to be “reasonable, nondiscriminatory, [and] content-neutral.” The SCV’s Stonewall Brigade appealed that dismissal, and will now present oral arguments to justify reinstating the case.
However the court rules after the hearing in March, the Stonewall Brigade likely faces an uphill fight. Winning this round at the Fourth Circuit sends the case back for trial in a court that has found it to be prima facie without merit. If the Stonewall Brigade loses before the Fourth Circuit, I presume they can appeal that ruling to the Supreme Court, but it seems extremely unlikely that that body would grant certiorari to hear arguments to reinstate a case that that two lower courts, in succession, have deemed not worthy of a district court’s time. A ruling against them at the Fourth Circuit would likely be “game over” in every practical sense. For the Stonewall Brigade and its supporters, the hearing on March 20 is not so much about winning the game, as it is merely staying in the game at all.
Back when the Lexington ordinance was first passed in 2011, Susan Hathaway said that under the law, the “ordinance is air tight.” She was correct. Nearly a year ago I argued that the Stonewall Brigade will ultimately lose the Lexington flag fight, for reasons I outlined at the time. That reasoning still holds.