Bloomberg Law’s combination of innovative analytics, research tools and practical guidance provides you with everything you need to be a successful litigator.
The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court signaled that they may be interested in reviewing the display of controversial Confederate symbols.
The high court on Aug. 29 asked Mississippi Gov. Dewey Phillip Bryant (R) to respond to a lawsuit challenging the inclusion of the Confederate Battle Flag on the state’s standard ( Moore v. Bryant , U.S., No. 17-23, response requested 8/29/17 ).
The request makes it more likely that the court will agree to take up the case—but it is still an uphill battle. The court hears less than 1 percent of the thousands of cases brought to it each year, according to the court’s website.
The request comes amid unrest nationwide over the public display of Confederate symbols. The planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was the stated reason for white nationalists’ protests in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11 and 12. Those protests led to violent clashes with counterprotesters, resulting in one death, and an uneven response from President Donald Trump.
Mississippi attorney Carlos Moore sued the governor over Mississippi’s inclusion of the controversial symbol on the state flag. The Mississippi legislature adopted the flag in 1894, according to Moore’s Supreme Court petition.
The repeated exposure to the state’s flag stigmatizes him in violation of the equal protection clause, Moore, an African-American who works for the state, argued to lower courts.
The lower courts, however, said Moore couldn’t bring such a claim in federal courts. To bring equal protection claims, a plaintiff must allege more than that they were exposed to an offensive symbol, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit said March 31. A plaintiff must also allege that he or she was “personally subjected to discriminatory treatment,” the Fifth Circuit said.
In June, Moore asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on what he must show before he could pursue his claim.
Bryant waived his right to respond to Moore’s Supreme Court petition shortly after it was filed. Parties on the winning end of lower court rulings often don’t respond to the loser’s request for the Supreme Court to step in.
But the Supreme Court requested that Bryant weigh in anyway. Bryant’s response is due Sept. 28.
The move means that at least one justice is taking a close look at the case. A single justice can initiate a request for a response, but the docket doesn’t reflect which justice or justices wanted to hear more about the issue.
Justice Clarence Thomas, notably, has shown an interest in state displays of symbols associated with racism and slavery.
The conservative justice uncharacteristically sided with his more liberal colleagues in 2015 in allowing the state of Texas to ban Confederate symbols on license plates. And in 2002, Thomas spoke favorably about the constitutionality of Virginia’s law banning cross burning during oral argument. The exchange was especially memorable in light of the fact that Thomas rarely speaks during oral argument sessions.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at email@example.com
Full text of the petition at http://src.bna.com/r7k
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)