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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:This is an appeal from the district court’s order of dismissal for want of jurisdiction. Appellants Denne A. Sweeney and the Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc., filed suit against appellees seeking declaratory and injunctive relief regarding the removal of two plaques that previously hung in the lobby of the Texas Supreme Court building. The Supreme Court Building was completed in 1957. Shortly thereafter two plaques were installed in the building lobby to commemorate and dedicate the building to Texas veterans who served in the Confederacy. These plaques were installed pursuant to a 1953 amendment to the Texas Constitution, which created the State Building Commission and transferred excess funds from the Confederate Pension Fund to the State Building Fund. One of these plaques contained the seal of the Confederate States of America and the phrase “Dedicated to Texans who served the Confederacy.” The other plaque contained a raised relief image of a waving confederate flag and the following quote from Confederate General Robert E. Lee: ” I rely upon Texas regiments in all tight places, and I fear I have to call upon them too often. They have fought grandly, nobly.” In 2000, acting upon a “routine maintenance request” issued at the direction of the appellees, the Building and Procurement Commission removed these two plaques and installed two new plaques in their place. The first of these new plaques states: “The courts of Texas are entrusted with providing equal justice under the law to persons, regardless of race, creed, or color.” The second plaque states: “Because this building was built with monies from the Confederate Pension Fund, it was, at that time, designated as a memorial to the Texans who served the Confederacy.” It is undisputed that no one, including appellees, sought the approval of the Texas Historical Commission, or any other state agency, prior to the removal of the original plaques and the installation of the new plaques. Nor did appellees give notice or hold a public hearing before removing the original plaques and installing the new plaques. After the new plaques were installed, the Confederate Veterans filed suit in the Travis County district court challenging both the removal of the original plaques and the installation of the new plaques. In their third amended petition, the Confederate Veterans alleged that the appellees had acted unlawfully and asserted jurisdiction under the Texas Constitution and several statutes. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. A common theme underlying all of the Confederate Veterans’ claims is that appellees acted without lawful authority in removing the original plaques and installing the new plaques. Although appellees concede that they violated section 2166.501 of the government code by removing the original plaques and installing the new plaques without obtaining approval of the Texas Historical Commission, they argue that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to remedy this violation of law. The district court had jurisdiction to consider the Confederate Veterans’ claims under Chapter 191 of the Texas Natural Resources Code, and Chapters 442, 551, 2165, and 2166 of the Texas Government Code, as well as the Confederate Veterans’ claims for declaratory relief under the Uniform Declaratory Judgment Act, the court finds it unnecessary to reach the question of the district court’s jurisdiction under the Texas Constitution. OPINION:Jan P. Patterson, J.; Smith, Patterson and Puryear, J.J.

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