This Article examines the current controversy regarding Confederate monuments. While many have focused on the removal of these commemorative objects, the legal framework regarding their protection has not been fully explored. This Article provides an in-depth understanding of the application of historic preservation laws to monument removal efforts and examines the impact of these federal, state, and local laws. The examination raises significant questions about the permanency of preservation laws generally. This Article considers how historic significance is evaluated and valued, noting the lack of flexibility and absence of mechanisms for reevaluating past protection decisions. This Article uses the Confederate monument debate both to help illustrate the general limitations inherent in static historic preservation laws and to provide practical guidance for those seeking to modify or remove monuments.
Jess R. Phelps and Jessica Owley, Etched in Stone: Historic Preservation Law and Confederate Monuments, 71 Fla. L. Rev. 627 (2019).