Gov. Robert Bentley’s recent executive order to remove four Confederate flags from a Civil War monument near the state Capitol has resulted in a lawsuit.
According to the Norman Transcript, Melvin Hasting, a private attorney based in Cullman, filed the suit against Gov. Bentley on Tuesday, July 14, in Montgomery Circuit Court. Hasting’s suit claims that Bentley had no legal right to take down the flags, and describes the governor’s executive order as a “knee-jerk reaction” to recent national criticism of the Confederate flag.
“None of this is just about the flag,” Hasting said in an interview Wednesday, claiming that Gov. Bentley is trying to rewrite history by taking down these flags. “It’s about our history, our heritage and protecting it in the state of Alabama.”
Bentley ordered the removal of the flags in the wake of the June 17 massacre of nine African-Americans in a historically black church in Charleston, SC.
When announcing his executive order, Bentley explained that it was also the right thing to do, as the flag is strongly associated with themes of bigotry and hatred. He said he had been advised by his staff that removing the flags under an executive order was within his powers as governor. The monument from which the governor removed the flags commemorates the 122,000 Alabamians who lost their lives during the Civil War.
On average, more than 90% of lawsuits and cases that go to trial will end in a victory for the plaintiff.
Hasting, who is also suing the Alabama Historical Commission for taking Confederate battle flag items off the shelves of the Capitol gift shop, said he has nothing personal against the governor. He even campaigned for Bentley during his first gubernatorial campaign.
“He is a good man,” Hasting said. “He means well, but we’ve got to stop what’s going on.”