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Miss. Flag Upheld by Court

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi state flag, which incorporates the Confederate battle flag in its design, does not violate the constitutional rights of blacks, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

Lawmakers, not the courts, should determine state flags, Presiding Justice Ed Pittman said in the ruling.

``The decision to fly or adopt a state flag rests entirely with the political branches,'' Pittman wrote. ``In this case, the NAACP failed to offer any proof that they flying of the state flag deprived any citizen of a constitutionally protected right.''

The ruling in the case, which dates back to 1993, had been awaited for months and came as state lawmakers were wrapping up a four-month session with no decision on whether to remove the Confederate design from the flag.

Blacks have called for a new flag design because they say the flag is a reminder of slavery. Some legislative opponents of changing the flag had said they wanted to wait until after the court ruled in the case.

Pittman said that the arguments by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People could be used either way.

``The free speech, the due process and the equal protection arguments espoused the NAACP would logically apply to the state supported flying of a Confederate Battle flag,'' he said.

Some black legislators wanted to put a magnolia on the flag instead of the Confederate battle symbol. They also have called for the creation of a commission to review options.
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