NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed an attempt to halt the removal of prominent Confederate monuments in New Orleans.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled against preservation groups and a chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The groups filed a lawsuit in December seeking to stop the city from removing four Reconstruction-era monuments.

The suit arose from a 6-1 vote by the City Council to remove the monuments, including a towering marble column and bronze statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, a landmark on the cityscape.

But Barbier found no legal reason why the city should not be allowed to take down the monuments.

The plaintiffs have vowed to pursue appeals and had asked Barbier to allow the monuments to stand until all appeals are exhausted.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)