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Federal Appeals Court denies effort to block state-run court in Mississippi`s majority-Black capital
Jan 04

Eds: UPDATES: With AP Photos.

By MICHAEL GOLDBERG
Associated Press/Report for America

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) __ A federal appeals court has denied a legal effort to stop Mississippi officials from creating a state-run court in part of the majority- Black capital city of Jackson, over objections from the NAACP.

In a Thursday ruling, three judges on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans denied the NAACP's motions for an injunction pending an appeal and vacated an administrative stay that had temporarily blocked state officials from creating the court.

The panel`s unanimous decision means state officials can begin setting up the Capitol Complex Improvement District Court, which will have a judge appointed by the state Supreme Court chief justice and prosecutors appointed by the state attorney general __ officials who are white and conservative. A state law approved by the Republican-controlled Mississippi Legislature created the court; Jackson is governed by Democrats.

The 5th Circuit's decision said the NAACP`s argument did not meet the burden for an appeal.

"We begin and end with the first factor: likelihood of success on the merits," the panel wrote. "In sum, plaintiffs fail to plead a cognizable injury-in-fact and thus lack standing to assert their claims. Without standing, they cannot obtain an injunction."

Attorneys for the NAACP and other civil rights organizations had sued on behalf of several Jackson residents, saying the new court undermines democracy because local voters or local elected officials won't choose its judge or prosecutors.

The panel said the argument that the state law would take away power from local officials "has no basis in fact" because the legislation creates a new court, "staffed with a newly appointed judge and newly appointed prosecutors."

In a statement following the ruling, the NAACP said its legal fight would continue. By The Associated Press, Copyright 2023