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Supreme Court axes suit over Mississippi Confederate emblem

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from an African-American attorney who called the Confederate battle emblem on the Mississippi flag "an official endorsement of white supremacy."

Posted: Nov 28, 2017 8:19 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from an African-American attorney who called the Confederate battle emblem on the Mississippi flag "an official endorsement of white supremacy."

The justices did not comment as they ended a lawsuit by lawyer Carlos Moore that sought to have the flag declared an unconstitutional relic of slavery.

Mississippi has used the same flag since 1894. It's the last state banner featuring the Confederate symbol, a red field topped by a blue tilted cross dotted by 13 white stars. Critics say the symbol is racist. Supporters say it represents history.

Moore said Monday that he has received five death threats because of the lawsuit and three death threats because he removed the Mississippi flag from his courtroom after he became a Clarksdale city judge. He said he's disappointed but not surprised that the justices chose not to consider the case.

"We always knew it was a long shot," Moore told The Associated Press.

He said he believes the flag hurts the economy in Mississippi, a state with a 38 percent black population.

"We're hopeful that one day the flag will come down," Moore said. "It seems that the public sentiment continues to change, and I am confident that it will come down in my lifetime and definitely in my daughter's."

Moore's lawsuit argued, in part, that the flag is an oppressive symbol that his daughter, who's now 7, should not have to face in her public school.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has called Moore's lawsuit "frivolous." Bryant has said repeatedly that if the flag design is to be reconsidered, it should be done by a statewide vote as it was more than 16 years ago.

In an April 2001 referendum, Mississippi residents voted to keep the flag. But the banner and other Confederate symbols have come under increased scrutiny since 2015, when nine black worshippers were shot to death in a church in Charleston, South Carolina. A white man who had posed in photos glorifying the rebel flag was sentenced to death in the fatal shootings, which police contend were racially motivated.

Several cities and towns and all eight of Mississippi's public universities have stopped flying the state flag amid concerns that it is offensive. Many pulled the flag from display after the Charleston church massacre.

Moore filed his lawsuit in February 2016. A federal district judge and an appeals court ruled against him, but his attorneys asked the Supreme Court in June to consider the case during the term that began in October. The court accepts a fraction of cases on appeal.

In written arguments filed to the Supreme Court on Oct. 18, attorneys for the governor wrote of Moore: "All in all, Petitioner alleges that he personally and deeply is offended by Mississippi's state flag — and the sincerity of those beliefs is not doubted." But the state attorneys said a lawsuit must show an "allegation of discriminatory treatment," and Moore failed to do that.

Edward Young, an 85-year-old Mississippi resident who is white, said Monday in the coastal city of Bay St. Louis that the Supreme Court decision to stop the flag lawsuit was "sensible."

"That flag has been flying over this land for a long time, so why would they want to remove it?" Young said. "We don't have any race riots like they do elsewhere. We get along very well with people here, no matter what color your skin is."

Edgar Trice, a 48-year-old African-American resident of Mississippi, said he is "totally against" the state flag.

"It's the Confederate battle flag, and what were they fighting for?" Trice said. "Slavery. So, I'm against that."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 143879

Reported Deaths: 3676
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto956999
Hinds9541193
Harrison6825105
Jackson6068116
Rankin523796
Lee480294
Madison4602102
Forrest367185
Jones344687
Lauderdale3343142
Lafayette313347
Washington3088106
Lamar281849
Bolivar237883
Oktibbeha237760
Lowndes228362
Neshoba2171113
Panola211047
Marshall207247
Leflore200789
Pontotoc193227
Monroe189577
Sunflower189554
Lincoln183964
Warren172157
Tate163349
Union160125
Pike160058
Copiah158840
Yazoo150638
Scott149929
Coahoma147342
Itawamba145533
Alcorn143724
Simpson143553
Pearl River142967
Prentiss139526
Grenada136344
Adams135948
Leake131643
Holmes124461
George121623
Tippah120930
Covington117234
Winston115824
Wayne115722
Hancock114137
Marion110746
Attala106233
Tishomingo106042
Newton102829
Chickasaw102332
Tallahatchie94727
Clarke88253
Clay86726
Jasper81121
Walthall74328
Stone72314
Montgomery71925
Calhoun71213
Carroll70514
Lawrence69914
Noxubee69017
Smith68616
Yalobusha67926
Perry65225
Tunica59519
Greene58422
Claiborne57416
Jefferson Davis54117
Humphreys52518
Amite50814
Benton48217
Quitman4786
Webster41614
Kemper40815
Wilkinson38422
Jefferson34011
Franklin3185
Sharkey30617
Choctaw3057
Issaquena1114
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 234080

Reported Deaths: 3459
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson30620491
Mobile19306358
Tuscaloosa12501148
Madison12410146
Montgomery12040232
Shelby980576
Baldwin826984
Lee753964
Morgan618247
Calhoun5997113
Etowah590564
Marshall581953
Houston507038
DeKalb463535
Cullman412636
Limestone404544
St. Clair398455
Elmore393961
Lauderdale382953
Walker349096
Talladega335942
Colbert296341
Jackson291924
Blount276336
Autauga263439
Franklin244833
Coffee233415
Dale226654
Dallas220231
Russell21803
Chilton216937
Covington212533
Escambia194431
Tallapoosa169290
Chambers168048
Pike155514
Clarke155419
Marion134535
Winston123723
Lawrence122436
Geneva11748
Marengo116924
Barbour116110
Pickens115318
Bibb114217
Butler113741
Randolph99821
Cherokee98924
Hale91631
Washington90018
Clay89423
Fayette84416
Henry8426
Lowndes78729
Monroe76811
Cleburne74414
Crenshaw70330
Macon70020
Bullock69019
Conecuh66814
Perry6686
Lamar6267
Wilcox62418
Sumter55322
Choctaw41713
Greene40217
Coosa3074
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