The debate over the legality of a Mandan mural is going to federal court.

The owners of the Lonesome Dove nightclub have partnered with the Institute for Justice, a libertarian legal group, to file suit against the city.

The Bismarck Tribune reports Lonesome Dove co-owners Brian Berubee and August Kersten filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District of North Dakota Monday. The suit "seeks a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to allow Lonesome Dove to keep artwork on the bar's front wind block."

The Mandan City Commission had ordered the mural be taken down in October, saying it was in violation of city ordinance.

The Mandan Architectural Review Commission later denied their application. City guideline state "no mural shall be placed on the front of [a] building" or "convey a commercial message."

The Institute for Justice contends the ordinance is a violation of the constitutional right to free speech.

[Sources: Bismarck Tribune, Institute for Justice website]