The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has removed Governor Tate Reeves’ name from a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of the controversial House Bill 1020.
The NAACP filed a notice of voluntary dismissal of their claims against Reeves on Thursday but stated that the association still opposes the creation of a separate court system for the newly expanded Capitol Complex Improvement District.
Minutes after receiving Reeves’ signature in late April, the NAACP filed a lawsuit against Senate Bill 2343 and HB 1020 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, stating that the legislation infringe on the rights of Jackson residents by stripping them of their voting power.
According to NAACP officials, SB 2343’s expansion of the CCID will bring the majority of Jackson’s Black residents under the jurisdiction of Capitol Police, which is run by the state.
As for HB 1020, the NAACP has expressed disapproval over how the bill — which creates a new court to hear all preliminary and criminal matters within the expanded district — requires that the judge be appointed by the Mississippi Supreme Court instead of by a vote. Each circuit judge for the Seventh Circuit Court District in Hinds County will also be placed in the positions by appointment.
Several weeks later, U.S. District Court Judge Henry Wingate temporarily blocked Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Randolph from appointing judges in the city of Jackson by handing down a temporary restraining order (TRO) after the NAACP argued that although the laws do not go into effect until July 1, Randolph could still make appointments prior to that date and possibly skew the legal process.
Representative Trey Lamar, the author of HB 1020, explained that the implementation of the new court system are contingent on the NAACP’s lawsuit.
“My understanding is that the lawsuit affects everything,” Lamar stated. “The federal lawsuit is the one that has House Bill 1020 stayed at the moment.”
At this time, the NAACP plans to continue to prevent HB 1020 from appointing judges to the positions by seeking a temporary injunction.