JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Supreme Court chief justice is no longer a defendant in a lawsuit that challenges a state law dealing with courts and appointed judges in the capital city of Jackson.
Hinds County Chancery Judge Dewayne Thomas on Thursday dismissed Chief Justice Mike Randolph and Hinds County Circuit Clerk Zack Wallace as defendants.
Three Jackson residents who are plaintiffs testified Wednesday that having appointed rather than elected judges would rob them of equal rights because the state constitution requires the election of most judges.
It is one of two lawsuits challenging laws Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed April 21. The laws will expand state policing in the capital city of Jackson, establish a court with an appointed judge and authorize four appointed judges to work alongside the four elected circuit court judges in Hinds County, which is home to Jackson.
Local residents protested that the majority-white and Republican-led Mississippi Legislature was trying to usurp power in Jackson, which is majority-Black and governed by Democrats.
During the hearing Wednesday, Thomas said he would rule quickly on whether all defendants would remain in the lawsuit. He said he intends to rule by early next week on a request to temporarily block the creation of a new court with an appointed judge and the appointment of four circuit judges who would serve through 2026.
BC-MS–Black City-White Legislature
May 11, 2023 3:59 PM – 227 words
By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS Associated Press
Eds: UPDATES: With AP Photos.
Cover Photo: Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Randolph confers with his representation during a recess at a hearing, Wednesday, May 10, 2023, in Hinds County Chancery Court in Jackson, Miss., where a judge heard arguments about a Mississippi law that would create a court system with judges who would be appointed rather than elected. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)