A new state-run court in Jackson, Mississippi, is set to begin this week as a federal judge rejected residents’ pleas to block the creation of the rogue GOP-led court.
According to AP, U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate dismissed requests from the NAACP to block the Capitol Complex Improvement District Court created by the majority-white and Republican-controlled Mississippi Legislature.
Following the Judge’s decision, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals stepped in granting a temporary administrative stay, which delayed the court’s creation until at least Jan. 5
Jackson residents argued that the new court would strip away voting rights and disenfranchise Black people in Jackson, but Judge Wingate disagreed.
“None of the Plaintiffs has alleged that he or she is in actual or imminent danger of experiencing any concrete and particularized injury resulting from the establishment of the CCID Court or the challenged appointment of a judge or prosecutors for that court,” Judge Wingate wrote.
The Capitol Complex Improvement District Court would act similarly to a municipal court that handles misdemeanor cases, traffic violations and initial appearances for some criminal charges.
Despite local voters electing judges and prosecutors, the white chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court would appoint two judges to oversee a new district within the city.
The white state attorney general would then appoint four prosecutors, a court clerk and four public defenders for the new district.
The white state public safety commissioner would then oversee an expanded Capitol Police force, run currently by a white chief.
Judges would also not be required to live in Jackson or the county where it’s located.
It’s worth noting that local elected officials normally appoint judges and prosecutors in Mississippi.
In September, Mississippi’s Supreme Court struck down part of the law that would have allowed appointed judges to handle felony cases and civil lawsuits.
The rogue court will have jurisdiction in some of Jackson, which includes state government buildings and some residential and shopping areas.
Mississippi lawmakers and activists have pushed back on the court system.
“It’s really a stripping of power, and it’s happening in a predominantly Black city that has predominantly Black leadership,” Sonya Williams-Barnes, a Democratic former state lawmaker who is now Mississippi policy director for the Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, told AP. “You don’t see this going on in other areas of the state where they’re run by majority white people.”
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has been critical of the bill since it was first introduced last month, comparing the bill to apartheid, calling it “plantation politics.”
“If we allow this type of legislation to stand in Jackson, Mississippi, it’s a matter of time before it will hit New Orleans, it’s a matter of time before it hits Detroit, or wherever we find our people,” Lumumba told AP.
Jackson, Mississippi, is more than 80% Black, arguably the Blackest city percentage-wise in the United States.
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