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DOJ files motion to intervene in litigation over controversial HB 1020

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The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) against House Bill 1020.

On Wednesday, the DOJ requested permission to intervene in the case to discuss claims made by Attorney General Lynn Fitch, who is currently a defendant in the lawsuit.

According to Section 902 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the United States can intervene in certain cases that seek relief from the “alleged denial of equal protection of the laws under the 14th Amendment if the Attorney General certifies that the case is one of general public importance.”

The bill — which creates a new court to hear all preliminary and criminal matters within the expanded Capital Complex Improvement District (CCID) — requires that the judge be appointed by the Mississippi Supreme Court instead of by a vote.

The motion also states that the DOJ is aiming to challenge three provisions in the legislation, including the appointment of the CCID judge, the appointment of CCID prosecutors, and the appointment of four new judges to the circuit court.

The NAACP removed Governor Tate Reeves’ name from the case in June, with U.S. District Court Judge Henry Wingate later removing Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Randolph the next day.

The remaining officials named in the lawsuit currently include Mississippi Commissioner of Public Safety Sean Tindell, Chief of Capitol Police Bo Luckey, and Attorney General Fitch.

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