JACKSON, Miss. – Today, the Mississippi Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a provision of HB 1020 that, in part, strips Hinds County residents of their constitutionally protected right to elect their judges.
In June 2023, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), along with Mississippi Votes and Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP, filed an amicus brief in the case arguing that a provision of the law violated the state constitution by allowing the appointment, rather than the election, of “temporary special circuit judges” in the Seventh Circuit Court District for nearly the full term of duly elected judges. The court adopted this argument in today’s opinion.
“We are pleased with the court’s decision affirming the rights of Hinds County voters to elect circuit court judges,” said Leslie Faith Jones, senior staff attorney for the SPLC. “The passage of the law earlier this year was irresponsible and a clear attempt to circumvent the will of the majority-Black county. The decision today corrects that wrong.”