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.

Confirmed Cases: 29684

Reported Deaths: 1103
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds238239
DeSoto148616
Madison126734
Jones110449
Neshoba98171
Lauderdale90079
Rankin88812
Forrest85142
Harrison84210
Scott76215
Copiah59216
Jackson58416
Leake57019
Holmes54441
Wayne53513
Lee53218
Oktibbeha53226
Washington5319
Warren49618
Yazoo4936
Leflore48049
Lowndes47212
Lincoln44334
Lamar4407
Grenada4325
Pike40712
Monroe38830
Lafayette3774
Attala35823
Sunflower3467
Newton3389
Covington3345
Panola3256
Bolivar32114
Adams29318
Simpson2833
Pontotoc2736
Marion27011
Tate2709
Chickasaw26918
Claiborne25610
Jasper2566
Winston2546
Noxubee2538
Pearl River24832
Clay24710
Marshall2173
Smith21611
Clarke20524
Coahoma1916
Union1919
Walthall1804
Kemper17714
Lawrence1701
Yalobusha1677
Carroll16411
Itawamba1348
Humphreys1329
Calhoun1284
Tippah12811
Hancock12613
Webster12610
Montgomery1242
Tallahatchie1224
Jefferson Davis1094
Prentiss1023
Greene1018
Jefferson993
Tunica933
Wilkinson929
Amite892
George783
Tishomingo741
Quitman730
Choctaw724
Perry654
Alcorn631
Stone571
Franklin412
Sharkey340
Benton300
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4802152
Montgomery3947103
Mobile3904134
Tuscaloosa218842
Marshall168010
Lee130237
Madison12717
Shelby117623
Morgan10475
Walker90524
Franklin87814
Dallas8689
Elmore86414
Baldwin8289
Etowah70713
DeKalb6945
Butler62328
Chambers61227
Tallapoosa58369
Autauga56012
Russell5190
Unassigned50323
Lauderdale4736
Limestone4660
Lowndes46321
Houston4614
Cullman4354
Pike4175
Colbert3836
Coffee3702
Bullock3679
St. Clair3472
Barbour3452
Covington3437
Escambia3326
Calhoun3225
Hale30621
Marengo30011
Talladega3007
Wilcox2898
Sumter28412
Clarke2726
Dale2680
Jackson2632
Winston2463
Monroe2312
Chilton2282
Blount2261
Pickens2226
Marion21413
Randolph2019
Conecuh1977
Choctaw19512
Bibb1861
Greene1838
Macon1819
Perry1621
Henry1313
Crenshaw1253
Lawrence1050
Washington1047
Cherokee857
Geneva780
Lamar751
Fayette671
Clay622
Coosa581
Cleburne361
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