A new, unelected court system in Jackson has been put on hold for at least four more days after a federal appeals court’s ruling on Sunday.
The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted an administrative stay, blocking the Capitol Complex Improvement District (CCID) court from going into effect until Friday, Jan. 5.
The legislature-created court was originally supposed to go into effect on Monday, Jan. 1 after U.S. District Court Judge Henry Wingate denied a motion from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) last Thursday. The Fifth Circuit Court’s decision trumped that of Wingate’s, calling for him to issue a “final appealable order” by noon on Wednesday, Jan. 3.
“The NAACP stands firm in our belief that this legislation is inherently undemocratic,” a statement from the organization reads. “We will continue to do everything in our power to fight for Jackson residents’ rights to have control over their own institutions and live free from state-driven discrimination.”
Back in April, the NAACP filed a lawsuit against two controversial bills – House Bill 1020 and Senate Bill 2343 – saying that the legislation infringed on the rights of Jackson residents. Combined, the two bills expand the CCID, which is a portion of the city run by state police, and implement an unelected court to hear all preliminary and criminal matters within the district.
Eric Holder, the former United States attorney general who is representing the NAACP in the case, argued upon the lawsuit’s filing that the goal of lawmakers is to overtake a majority Black city that they have neglected for decades.
“Mississippi House Bill 1020 and Senate Bill 2343 represent a disturbing regression, rolling back decades of progress by stripping Jackson residents of their fundamental right to democratically elect leaders, undermining the authority of those they have elected, and severely restricting their First Amendment right to freedom of speech,” Holder stated. “This Legislative body has proven that they are uninterested in upholding their sworn oath to protect the constitutional rights of their constituents, including the majority Black residents of Jackson.”
Others, including House Minority Leader Robert
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