U.S. judge tosses suit on Confederate emblem in Mississippi flag

September 9, 2016 10:33 AM EDT

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(Reuters) - A U.S. judge has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to have the Confederate battle emblem in the Mississippi state flag declared an unconstitutional vestige of slavery.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves ruled that the plaintiff, African-American lawyer Carlos Moore, had failed to show that he had suffered injury from the Confederate emblem, which is a cross, featuring stars, on a red background.

"Moore needs to identify that part of the Constitution which guarantees a legal right to be free from anxiety at State displays of historical racism. There is none," Reeves, who also is black, said on Thursday in his 32-page opinion.

The flag carried by the South's pro-slavery Confederate forces during the 1861-65 Civil War re-emerged as a flashpoint in the United States' troubled race relations after a white gunman massacred nine African-Americans at a historic church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. The assailant was seen afterward in photographs posing with the flag.

Reeves wrote that since the shooting, Alabama and South Carolina have moved to remove the symbol from their statehouses. All but one of Mississippi's public universities have removed the state flag from their campuses, he said.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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