After the Republican-controlled Mississippi legislature failed to change the state's Confederate-celebrating flag, attorney Carlos Moore sued to have the flag taken down. The federal judge hearing the case has deemed the Confederate insignia in the banner "anti-American."
On Feb. 29, Mississippi attorney Moore filed a lawsuit against Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, demanding that the state flag be removed. He has since received three death threats, WJTV reports.
“I have beefed up security,” Moore said. “We have full-time security. We have the cameras. We have the alarm systems. We have done everything we can to protect ourselves.”
The attorney has put himself in the eye of a storm of controversy because he alleges the Confederate flag's stars and bars emblazoned on the Mississippi flag causes undue harm to him and other African-Americans.
It also makes it difficult for him to uphold both the laws of the U.S. and the values of his home state, where the Confederacy remains enshrined on the state banner.
“Each time I enter into a courthouse, it has that state flag,” Bryant said. “I am offended, I feel threatened and that is causing me undue stress and anxiety.”
On April 12, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves heard Moore’s arguments in court. The attorney stated the Constitution protects the right to dignity, reports ABC News.
“I’m nobody’s second-class citizen, and I don’t appreciate being treated as such,” Moore said.
Reeves has not decided to either allow Moore’s lawsuit to continue or be thrown out. His criteria is that Moore must prove that the flag is harmful to his personhood and to determine whether or not the judicial branch could alter a state flag.
Assistant state attorney general Doug Miracle, representing the governor, argued that only the state’s representatives can determine whether or not the flag should be taken down.
“The issue is not one of whether the legislative branch will act,” Miracle said. “The issue is whether it is capable and better suited.”
After reported white supremacist Dylann Roof allegedly shot and killed nine African-Americans during a Bible study session in Charleston, South Carolina, several southern states have condemned and removed their Confederate iconography. Roof was shown posing in photos with the Confederate flag.
Mississippi has gone a different way: The Confederate flag remains part of the state flag. In February, Bryant declared the month of April Confederate Heritage Month and designed April 25 as Confederate Memorial Day, according to WHIO.
While Reeves did not make a ruling after hearing arguments from both Moore and Miracle, he did agree with the assessment that it represents rebels who had defied the U.S.
“We’re still arguing about a flag in 2016 and arguing about a flag that is anti-American … which is anathema to anybody who lives within the 21st century,” Reeves said.