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Lawsuit Over Former Supreme Court Justice’s Old Town Home Dismissed

A lawsuit to try to prevent the owners of a late-18th century home in Old Town from demolishing parts of the historic property has been thrown out, but the plaintiff in the case has filed an appeal.

The house at 619 S. Lee Street has been owned by various local dignitaries over the years, from former mayor and editor of the Alexandria Gazette-Packet Edgar Snowden to Hugo Black, a member of the Supreme Court from 1937 to 1971. Black notably wrote the majority opinion in a decision justifying the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, filibustered an anti-lynching bill while a U.S. senator, and was at one point a member of the KKK.

The owners of the house won approval from the City Council earlier this year to demolish parts of the home, including a curved wall built in the late 1800s that the owners said was causing damage to the main building, according to the Alexandria Times. The changes to the home were opposed by a group of Old Town residents at every step of the process, arguing the changes were not in keeping with the historic nature of the home.

Yvonne Callahan, former president of the Old Town Citizens Association and one of the opponents of the demolition, filed a lawsuit against the City of Alexandria challenging the decision.

On Nov. 7, court records show that the case was dismissed with prejudice by the court, with Judge Lisa Kemler arguing that the topic had been fairly debated with enough time for public input and that — like with the lawsuit concerning the slaughterhouse — the parties involved in the lawsuit were unable to show that they were sufficiently aggrieved by the city’s approval of the demolition.

As of Nov. 26, an appeal of Kemler’s decision was already filed to the Supreme Court of Virginia.

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