Mississippi’s Majority-Black Capitol City Faces Battle Over Newly Proposed Municipal Court

A federal judge is set to hear arguments December 19 over a state-run court in part of Mississippi’s majority-Black capital city of Jackson that the Justice Department says would continue the state’s long history of trying to suppress Black people’s right to participate in government, Emily Wagster Pettus reports for the Associated Press.

The new court would be led by a state-appointed judge and prosecutors, and it would be the equivalent of a municipal court, handling misdemeanor cases. In a December 5 federal court filing, Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general for the department’s Civil Rights Division, and Todd Gee, the U.S. attorney for south Mississippi, wrote that “(the law) singles out the majority-Black City of Jackson for loss of local control of its judicial system and ability to self-govern and enforce its own municipal laws.” Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, as well as other lawmakers and police representatives, argue that the NAACP and Jackson residents who are suing the state have failed to prove they would be harmed and that blocking creation of the new court would cause irreparable harm.


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