A black Mississippi man who argues that the state’s flag is a symbol of white supremacy is taking his fight to the Supreme Court of the United States, setting the stage for the possibility that SCOTUS could ban all official use of Confederate imagery.
According to an Associated Press report, in February 2016, Carlos Moore filed a federal suit asking that Mississippi’s state flag be declared “state-sanctioned hate speech.” Moore’s attorneys argued that the flag was an unconstitutional relic of slavery.
However, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves, who is also black (yes, a black man named Carlos and a black man named Carlton were in the same room and didn’t disturb the space-time continuum), disagreed and dismissed Moore’s lawsuit without ruling on the merits of the case. Reeves’ decision indicated that Moore had failed to prove that the flag actually caused him any identifiable legal injury. But wait ... there’s more.
In his ruling, however, Judge Reeves gave Moore the Carl-to-Carl hookup, setting the stage for Moore’s appeal by devoting nine pages in his ruling to explaining that he agreed that the Confederate flag was a symbol of white supremacy. Reeves went on to show how the flag was used during segregation, tracing its lineage all the way to Mississippi’s secession, pointing out that the state had declared, “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery—the greatest material interest of the world.”
Moore, who I presume gave Judge Reeves some dap and said, “Good looking out, bruh,” after he read the decision, appealed on the grounds that the flag has actually caused him legal injury, citing the fact that he has a daughter who should be protected from white supremacist symbols via the U.S. Constitution’s “equal protection” clause. Moore is also an attorney, and his new appeal explains why the 5th Circuit’s ruling was wrong, stating:
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.
While I’ve always thought that Mississippi’s motto was already “White supremacy forever” (not to be confused with Alabama’s state motto, “White supremacy forever. Roll Tide!”), the state has recently considered legislation to remove the Confederate symbol from its flag. Several cities in Mississippi have already stopped flying the flag, as have all eight of the state’s public universities.
Many people (pronounced “caw-cajuns”) argue that the flag is a symbol of history and Southern heritage. They say the flag does not promote hate or white supremacy but instead is a reminder of the legacy of the old South.
Those people are idiots.
In fact, after the Civil War ended, no one—not even the vanquished Southern rednecks—thought about the rebel flag until blacks began to push for civil rights, desegregation and equality under the law.
Furthermore, William T. Thompson, the man who designed the Confederate flag, even wrote:
As a people we are fighting to maintain the heavenly ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause. Such a flag would be a suitable emblem of our young confederacy, and sustained by the brave hearts and strong arms of the south, it would soon take rank among the proudest ensigns of the nations, and be hailed by the civilized world as THE WHITE MAN’S FLAG.”
The Supreme Court won’t announce whether it will hear Moore’s case until at least October.
Read more at the Associated Press.