Mississippi stubbornly refuses to remove the Confederate battle emblem embedded in its official state flag. If one resident has his way, that may change.
Attorneys for Carlos Moore petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to consider his case, which contends that the Confederate battle emblem is a symbol of White supremacy and violates the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee, the Washington Post reports.
Moore, who is a Black lawyer, filed the lawsuit in February 2016, which was not received favorably in the lower courts. His attorneys argue that the Constitution’s Establishment Clause prohibits states from favoring one religion over another. The lower courts, however, have refused to extend that principle to race.
They argue that the Confederate emblem, as a symbol of White supremacy, sends the message that Mississippi favors Whites over other races.
According to The Post, Mississippi is the last state that continues to feature the controversial emblem in its state flag. Mississippi has withstood the wave of national soul searching following the 2015 Charleston church massacre, in which a White supremacist gunned down nine Black worshippers. Supports of the Confederate emblem deny that it’s a symbol of racism, arguing that it’s part of the state’s heritage.
A federal district court judge dismissed the case, but he acknowledged the emblem’s historic association with slavery and racism.
Moore’s attorneys criticized the federal appeals court’s ruling. According to the newspaper, the attorneys wrote that under the decision, “a city could adopt ‘White Supremacy Forever’ as its official motto; or a county could incorporate an image of white hooded figures and a noose hanging from a tree into its county seal; or a state could incorporate a Nazi swastika, as an endorsement of Aryan/white supremacy, in its state flag.”
The petition asks the high court to order the district court to hold a trial on the merits of Moore’s arguments. A decision on whether to consider his case will likely come in the fall.