A three-judge panel of the US District Court for the Fifth Circuit heard oral arguments on Tuesday over the city of Natchitoches’ refusal to allow the Louisiana division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) to carry Confederate flags during the 2015 Christmas Festival.
In 2015 Natchitoches Mayor Lee Posey requested that the SCV not display the Confederate flag during the annual Christmas Festival, due to its potentially offensive symbolic nature. The SCV had participated in the parade and displayed the Confederate flag for 25 years, but in 2015 the organization did not appear formally. Some members, on their own initiative, participated in the parade and brought the flag.
In 2016 the Louisiana division of the SCV filed suit against the city of Natchitoches, Posey, and unnamed members of the Christmas Festival Committee in the US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. In the complaint, SCV alleged that, by denying them the right to express their views, the city infringed upon their First Amendment right to free speech. Last year US District Judge Dee Drell dismissed the lawsuit.
SCV appealed, and a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit heard oral arguments on Tuesday. Although the judges’ decisions have not yet been released, SCV hopes to reverse Drell’s previous dismissal of the case.