A Mississippi attorney suing the governor over the state flag appeared in federal court to defend his case. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
Attorney Carlos Moore calls the confederate emblem on the Mississippi flag state sanctioned hate speech. He says the symbol of slavery relegates him to second class citizenship. As a result, Moore claims the flag violates his civil rights. U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves grilled Moore and lawyers with the state attorney general's office who are representing Governor Phil Bryant, yesterday. At issue is: should the court take up a matter that could arguably be a political issue better left to legislators and voters? Attorneys for the governor argue it's a political issue but wouldn't comment. Carlos Moore explains.
"They're basically saying because the majority of the people in 2001 voted to keep that offensive flag, that that should have been the end of the story. And if that was not the end of the story, put it back to a vote of the people and majority rules," said Moore.
Moore says the killings at the South Carolina church and a flag that contained the confederate battle emblem and noose placed on the statue of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi, demonstrate the threat the emblem poses. The state attorney general's office contend it's the people who act badly. They say the flag doesn't cause discriminatory treatment. But Moore claims he's sworn to uphold state laws and feels his dignity is violated when he has to work in courtrooms where the flag is displayed. Moore says the issue has led to heart problems and sleepless nights.
"I'm not saying that the state flag has caused me to have hypertension. I'm stating that that offensive emblem is worsening or exacerbating my hypertension. I have spikes in my blood pressure because of the anxiety that increases my stress, that increases my blood pressure. I'm also stating this is an added reason for my sleepless nights, my insomnia.
Judge Carlton Reeves says he'll review the oral arguments and briefs, but didn't say when he'll rule on the motions.