Confederate emblem 'anti-American,' judge in flag case says

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 5:12 AM

But U. S. District Judge Carlton Reeves isn't yet saying whether he'll fully consider a lawsuit that seeks to get rid of the flag as a state symbol.

Confederate emblem 'anti-American,' judge in flag case says

A federal judge said Tuesday that the Confederate emblem on the MS flag is "anti-American" because it represents those who fought to leave the United States.

But U. S. District Judge Carlton Reeves isn't yet saying whether he'll fully consider a lawsuit that seeks to get rid of the flag as a state symbol.

Reeves heard more than three hours of arguments about motions in the lawsuit that Carlos Moore, an African-American attorney from Grenada, Mississippi, filed against the state. Moore is asking Reeves to declare the flag an unconstitutional relic of slavery.

Moore argued that below the U. S. Supreme Ct decision latest summer that effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, a majority of justices found the Constitution protects a fundamental right of dignity. Moore argued the state flag violates his dignity and that of other African-Americans.

"I'm nobody'south second-class citizen, and I don't appreciate being treated as such," Moore said.

Reeves — who's also African-American — said he's considering two questions as he decides whether to give more thorough consideration to Moore'south lawsuit or to dismiss it.

One question is whether Moore has valid standing to sue the state, including whether Moore can prove he's been harmed because of the flag. The other question is whether flag design is an issue that can be decided by a court.

Reeves asked attorneys dozens of questions on both points Tuesday.

An helper state attorney general, Doug Miracle, argued flag design is a political question that should be decided by the Legislature.

"The issue isn't one of whether the legislative department will act," Miracle said. "The issue is whether it's capable and it's better suited."

MS has used the same flag since one thousand eight hundred ninety-four, and its upper left corner has the Confederate battle emblem — a ruddy field topped by a blue X dotted with thirteen white starts. Voters chose to hold the banner in a two thousand one referendum, and it'south the latest state flag in the nation to prominently feature the emblem.

The public display of Confederate symbols has arrive below sharp debate since latest summer, when nine black worshippers were massacred at a church in Charleston, S Carolina. The man charged in the slayings had the Confederate battle flag in photos of him published online.

Moore filed his lawsuit in February, days after legislative leaders declined to have the state House and Senate debate bills that'd have either removed the Confederate emblem from the flag or punished public entities that refuse to fly it. Several local governments and some universities have taken down the flag since latest summer. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has said he supports the results of the two thousand one vote but if the flag is to be changed, it should be done by a statewide vote.

Reeves didn't declare when he'll regulation on the arguments he heard Tuesday, but he well-known they took space on the anniversary of the first shots of the Civil War being fired in one thousand eight hundred sixty-first at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

"We're still arguing about a flag in two thousand-sixteenth and arguing about a flag that's anti-American," Reeves said. He said the Confederate battle flag was one symbol of those who fought to withdraw from the United States.

The judge also said the battle emblem is a symbol of the Confederacy, "which is anathema to anybody who lives within the twenty-first century."

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