Court declines to hear University of Mississippi flag case

MISSISSIPPI — The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Mondayto hear arguments against the University of Mississippi’s banon stick-mounted flags at football games.

The case stems from an incident involving Jimmy Giles, whowas asked to leave a football game in 1999 for waving a Confederateflag. A federal appeals court sided with the university in anearlier ruling.

This is the second time in 10 months that the Court has declinedto take up a challenge to the university’s policy of banning stick-mountedflags at football games. In December 2000, the Court opted notto hear the appeal of Richard Barrett, who tried to bring a flagto a game in 1997.

Prior to the rule, which prohibits spectators from enteringthe stadium with any flag larger than 12-by-14 inches and attachedto a stick, there was a tradition of waving Confederate battleflags at the football games.

Giles and Barrett filed separate lawsuits against the university,claiming the ban violated their First Amendment rights. In bothcases the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld thevalidity of the university’s rule.

The university has defended the ban on flags as a rule intendedto ensure the safety of other fans, and not to prevent the displayof the Confederate symbol.