Jackson, MS: Federal Judge rejects NAACP challenge to special court district – National & International News – MON 1Jan2024



Jackson, MS: Federal Judge rejects NAACP challenge to special court district

Japan struck by 7.6 earthquake, forcing evacuations.


Jackson, MS: Federal Judge rejects NAACP challenge to special court district

 U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate has ruled that the Mississippi state government may move ahead with its plan to install an unelected court system in Jackson. Judge Wingate rejected a challenge brought to the plan by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The Department of Justice had also filed briefs in the case siding with the ACLU and NAACP.

The plaintiffs argued that the plan would bypass voters in majority-Black Jackson by creating a new court system that would be unaccountable either to the voters or their local elected officials. The group says it plans to appeal Judge Wingate’s decision. The next stop would be the conservative-leaning 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and the case is likely to eventually wind up before the Supreme Court.

Last year, the state legislature passed HB 1020 which creates a new special judicial district in the Capitol Complex Improvement District (CCID). This court would administer a relatively wealthy white enclave in Jackson where most of the city’s upscale commercial establishments are also located. The judges in this new circuit will be appointed by state officials rather than elected. HB 1020 also expands the jurisdiction of the state-run Capitol Police to cover the entirety of the CCID. Previously, the Capitol Police bailiwick was confined to the area immediately surrounding the Capitol complex. Capitol Police have had two deadly encounters with Black motorists in recent years, neither of which has ever been investigated.

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Japan struck by 7.6 earthquake, forcing evacuations

The northern part of Honshu, Japan’s main island, was struck by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake and several powerful aftershocks today. The quakes were centered in the Ishikawa prefecture on Japan’s western coast. It’s about 185 miles from Tokyo which is on the opposite coast. The government alert system also issued a major tsunami warning but later downgraded it to a moderate warning.

The quakes wrought havoc on local roads and other infrastructure, leaving tens of thousands without power. Several buildings also collapse, including homes where people were believed to be trapped inside. Local communications were also disrupted. The government is mobilizing the Japan Self-Defense Forces for deployment to assist with rescue and recovery efforts in Ishikawa. The full extent of deaths, injuries and damage probably won’t be known for several days. 

Initial reporting from Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority shows no effects or disruptions at any of the six nuclear power facilities (totaling 22 reactors) located along the affected coastline. In 2011, a 9 magnitude earthquake off Japan’s Pacific coast damaged nuclear reactors in Fukushima, creating a contamination crisis the country is still dealing with to this day.

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