A black Mississippi man who thinks the state flag symbolizes white supremacy is taking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the Associated Press.
Carlos Moore argues in a claim filed Wednesday that lower courts should not have dismissed his lawsuit that purports the flag to be “state-sanctioned hate speech” and wants to symbol removed. He also claims the flag violates his constitutional right to equal protection.
Because the suit failed to show identifiable legal injury, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Mississippi Carlton Reeves, also African-American, rejected Moore’s argument without ruling on its merits.
Nevertheless, Judge Reeves dedicated nine pages of his decision to explaining how he agreed that the Confederate flag had a connection to efforts by white supremacists in the Deep South to maintain racial segregation in the years leading up to Mississippi’s adoption of the flag, which has a Confederate emblem in the upper left quarter.
Mississippi has used its current flag since 1894. Of all 50 states, Mississippi is the only one to still use Confederate symbolism on its flag.
Several cities and towns, as well as all eight of the state’s public universities, have stopped flying the flag due to concerns that it is offensive to the state’s black population.
Removal of the flag came after the 2015 mass shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, that resulted in the death of nine black worshipers at the hands of a white supremacist. The shooter had previously posted images of him posing with a Confederate flag online.
Should the Supreme Court decide to take the lawsuit, a decision in favor of Moore could mean the banning of all official use of Confederate imagery across the country. It will not be until at least October before the Supreme Court addresses the case.