Federal judge overturns 133 year old Mississippi law against felons voting

Law disproportionately affected Blacks

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit voted 2-1 to overturn the 1890 Mississippi State constitution, which bans felons from voting. James L. Dennis, who Bill Clinton appointed, wrote the majority opinion.

Dennis declared that Section 241 of Article XII in the Mississippi Constitution was “cruel and unusual punishment.

A lawsuit claimed the ban was racist because Blacks are disproportionately likely to commit felonies and have a criminal record.

In 2020, 10.55% of adults in Mississippi, or 235k, could not vote due to felony convictions. Of these, 131k were Black.

Also voting in favor of overturning the MS Constitution was Judge Carolyn Dineen King, who Jimmy Carter appointed.

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