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State-Run Jackson Court Can Move Forward After Judge Again Denies NAACP Request

A state-run court in the City of Jackson, Miss., will soon be able to move forward after a federal judge reaffirmed his Dec. 31 ruling that denied the NAACP’s motion to delay the implementation of a new court to oversee Jackson’s Capitol Complex Improvement District. Opponents of the court warn that the law establishing it, House Bill 1020, takes power to elect their own judges away from voters in majority-Black Jackson.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi Judge Henry T. Wingate said his ruling met the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ New Year’s Eve request for a “final appealable order” when it temporarily blocked the Jackson court’s establishment.

The NAACP filed a new motion on Jan. 2, renewing its request for a judicial injunction to block Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph from appointing judges and Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch from appointing prosecutors to the CCID court. Wingate held a hearing on Jan. 3 and listened to arguments from the NAACP about why state officials should be blocked from making the appointments.

“The CCID court has now come into existence, and Defendants Randolph and Fitch are now required by H.B. 1020 to make their appointments. Those appointments, however, are currently stayed by order of the Court of Appeals, which expires at noon on Friday, January 5, 2024,” the NAACP’s Jan. 2 motion states.

Click the screencap to read Judge Henry T. Wingate’s Jan. 3, 2024, motion.

Judge Wingate’s Jan. 3 final order denied that motion.

“After conferring with each party, this court and all parties agreed that this court’s December 31, 2023, Order [Docket no. 135] is a ‘final appealable order.’ The parties concluded that the Fifth Circuit had issued its directive before this court had the opportunity to file its Order,” Wingate’s Jan. 3 order states.

“This court, in lockstep with the State Defendants’ argument, found that Plaintiffs’ motion must be denied because: (1) this court has found that Plaintiffs have no standing to seek this injunctive relief; (2) this court already has denied the Plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction concerning the

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