Attorney General’s Office says they are prepared to defend the state’s constitution and its laws.

On Friday, the Mississippi Center for Justice (MCJ) announced they are filing a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to review MCJ’s challenge to the felon disfranchisement provision of Mississippi’s 1890 Constitution.

“The outcome in this case – Harness v. Watson – will determine whether or not thousands of Mississippians who have paid their debt to society will continue to be permanently banned from voting,” MCJ said in a release. “The felon disfranchisement measure, contained in Section 241 of the 1890 Constitution, permanently bars anyone from voting who was convicted of certain crimes that the 1890 framers believed were committed mostly by Black people.”

MCJ said it was one of several voting provisions in the 1890 Constitution designed to take the vote away from black citizens who had obtained it during the Reconstruction period after the abolition of slavery and the end of the Civil War.

“The other discriminatory provisions, including the poll tax and the so-called understanding clause, were eliminated in the 1960s in response to federal court orders and the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965,” MCJ continued.

Vangela M. Wade, President and CEO of the Mississippi Center for Justice, said the United States’ ideals of equality and freedom are swiftly undermined by Mississippi’s insidious practice of felony disenfranchisement, which is one of voter suppression’s most effective tools.

“Too many Mississippians, particularly people of color, face enormous hurdles to accessing the ballot box. We hope the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down this 132-year-old racist provision in the Mississippi Constitution,” Wade continued.

Michelle Williams, Chief of Staff for the Attorney General’s Office, told Y’all Politics on Friday that their staff is prepared to continue to defend Mississippi’s Constitution and laws.

“As the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals noted in the majority opinion for this case, ‘Plaintiffs proposal that a state constitutional amendment must be voted on word for word to avoid any vestigial racial taint is radically prescriptive…. No subsequent case law supports plaintiffs’ novel, judicially crafted political theory of public consent,’” Williams said.

Secretary of State Michael Watson’s office had no comment at this time as the litigation is pending.