Fifth Circuit OKs Mississippi State Flag

NEW ORLEANS (CN) – The Fifth Circuit refused Friday to revive a Mississippi man’s lawsuit seeking to erase the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag, which he claimed amounted to “hate speech.”

The New Orleans-based appeals court said in its ruling that attorney Carlos Moore, an African American, lacked standing to sue the state’s governor for constitutional rights violations and rejected his request for a new trial.

“That plaintiff alleges that he personally and deeply feels the impact of Mississippi’s state flag, however sincere those allegations are, is irrelevant…unless plaintiff alleges discriminatory treatment,” Judge Stephen Higginson wrote for the three-judge panel.

Moore claimed in his 2016 lawsuit that the flag’s display of the Confederate battle emblem was “discriminatory and racist in nature.” He claimed the alleged “hate speech” damaged him personally by causing him to suffer physical and emotional injuries and by inciting private citizens to commit acts of racial violence.

The March 31 ruling affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of Moore’s lawsuit based on his failure to establish a recognizable legal injury.

“We agree with the district court that plaintiff failed adequately to plead injury in fact and therefore failed to establish standing,” Friday’s 11-page opinion said.

Mississippians voted in 2001 to keep the flag the way it is, but all eight of the state’s public universities have stopped flying the state flag, many since the fatal shootings of nine black people at a church in Charleston, S.C., in 2015.

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