JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – On Wednesday, the Mississippi Center for Justice announced the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a provision in Mississippi’s Constitution that permanently bans people from voting who were convicted of certain felonies.
“This provision was a part of the 1890 plan to take the vote away from Black people who had attained it in the wake of the civil war,” said Rob McDuff, director of the Impact Litigation Project at the Mississippi Center for Justice. “Unfortunately, the Court of Appeals is allowing it to remain in place despite its racist origins. Despite this setback, we will continue this battle and seek review in the U.S. Supreme Court.”
The decision marks the latest chapter in a five-year-old lawsuit. The provision was originally upheld by a federal district court in Jackson. That decision was affirmed by a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit. Then, the full collection of sixteen judges of the Fifth Circuit agreed to review the case, but their ruling upheld the provision.
MCJ filed this lawsuit in 2017 on behalf of Roy Harness and Kamal Karriem, who were convicted in separate crimes.