Top Alabama Court upholds Confederate monument protections

The Alabama Supreme Court has upheld a state law barring cities from moving or altering Confederate monuments.

Justices on Wednesday reversed a circuit judge's ruling that declared the law unenforceable because it violates the free speech rights of local communities.

The 2017 law prohibits removing and altering memorials that have been standing for more than 40 years. The legislation was enacted as some Southern states and cities began removing Confederate monuments and emblems.

Alabama sued Birmingham in 2017 after officials in the majority-black city erected a wooden box obscuring the view of a 52-foot-tall obelisk honoring Confederate veterans.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Michael Graffeo ruled in favor of Birmingham, but the state appealed.