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Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to Mississippi Confederate flag

In this June 23, 2015, file photo, the Mississippi state flag is seen in front of the Governor’s mansion in Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo by the Associated Press)

The US Supreme Court has declined an appeal from an attorney who has challenged the use of a Confederate emblem on the Mississippi flag, calling it "an official endorsement of white supremacy."

Carlos Moore, an African-American lawyer from Mississippi who petitioned the highest court of last resort in the US, had argued the flag symbolically expresses support for white supremacy. The flag incorporates the Confederate battle flag in its upper left corner.

Moore, filed the suit on behalf of himself and his seven-year-old daughter under the Equal Protection Clause of the US constitution, seeking a declaration that the flag is unconstitutional.

Moore argued that his daughter is harmed by her exposure to the flag at public school, and state laws requiring her to respect a flag that implicitly endorses a “demeaning message that she is inferior to her white classmates.”

Attorney Carlos Moore (Photo courtesy Carlos Moore)

The Supreme Court justices did not comment on their rejection to Moore’s appeal, but in September 2016, US District Judge Carlton Reeves dismissed Moore’s case and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower district court’s ruling in March.

US Circuit Judge Stephen Higginson said in his opinion that the “gravamen of an equal protection claim is differential governmental treatment, not differential governmental messaging.”

Moore told Courthouse News on Monday that he was disappointed but not shocked by the decision of the nation’s highest court.

“I always knew that it would be a longshot, but I thought it was a fight worth fighting to the end,” Moore said.

In another interview with the Associated Press on Monday, Moore said he is “hopeful that one day the flag will come down." "It seems that the public sentiment continues to change, and I am confident that it will come down in my lifetime and definitely in my daughter's."

Mississippi, a state with a substantial 38 percent black population, has used the flag since 1894, and is the last US state to incorporate the controversial Confederacy flag in its state banner.

Critics say the symbol is racist and stands for a period of slavery and discrimination. Supporters say the flag represents an era in the country’s history and should be preserved.

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