Thursday, July 23, 2020

Masks Must be Worn in Court

The Mississippi Supreme Court issued the following statement.


Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph on Thursday ordered that masks be worn by everyone in all courtrooms in the state to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

“Public safety was a concern of the drafters of our Constitution and remains a paramount concern today. As such, the Court continues to balance personal rights with the constitutional obligation to remain open and accessible,” the Chief Justice wrote in Emergency Administrative Order 14, issued on July 23.

The Chief Justice said in the order, “Throughout our Emergency Administrative Orders, the Court has recognized the necessity of balancing health risks presented by COVID-19 with the courts’ constitutional and statutory duty to remain open and accessible. In light of the overwhelming evidence, I find that modification of prior Emergency Administrative Orders is warranted. The aforementioned evidence, when coupled with the increasing transmission of the COVID-19 virus within this State, dictates that face coverings over the nose and mouth of all persons shall be required in every courtroom in this State, without exception, upon the entry of this Order.”

The order said, “Courts are unlike businesses, e.g., shops, stores, restaurants, salons, or houses of worship, where one’s presence is a personal decision, voluntarily made. The presence of court personnel, including the judge, law clerks, court clerks, law enforcement, bailiffs, court reporters, counsel, parties, witnesses, jurors, and victims, is regularly required, and at times, they are in close proximity to each other. Others are commanded to attend court. While masks may be objectionable or pose a slight inconvenience to some, such inconvenience cannot prevent our courts from remaining open and accessible to all.”







31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nutcase lawyer from rural Miss filing lawsuit in 3, 2, 1.

Anonymous said...

Surely the posters here who think this is unconstitutional will storm into the court sans mask and give those pesky judges a piece of their mind in person. Be sure to strenuously object when the guard tells you to get out. Scream "MUH FREEDUMB" at the top of your lungs while your at it.

Anonymous said...

Well done Chief Justice.

And, if 4:21's nutcase files his lawsuit, let him show up in mask -- after he hopefully recovers from COVID-19

Anonymous said...

Good call Supreme Court !

Now if only the US Congress can focus on the virus and anarchists rather than Confederate statues and such.

But again, The Mississippi Supreme Court made the right decision.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, apparently Justice Randolph isn't too concerned with our various and sundry opinions about whether masks are effective, or whether requiring them violates our rights. He appears most concerned with the Mississippi Constitution's requirement that the courts of the state remain open to the people of Mississippi, and has concluded that the best way to ensure that is to require masks inside every courtroom.

Anonymous said...

All courts have already been requiring masks. Most are only calling one case at a time. I had to stay in the parking lot the other day for thirty minutes until my case was called, get temperature checked, etc. Then they sprayed Lysol all over the courtroom while we walked in.

Anonymous said...

That's like an order for everybody to wear shoes and shirts in court. It's already being done. But it makes the soy boys happy.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Chief Justice Randolph! The trial for my divorce is coming up in a few months and I don't want my soon-to-be ex-wife to get ill during it and cause more delays.

Anonymous said...

A mask should be especially worn to help cover the "rotten smells" from the DHS scandal where money, intended for the poor, was stolen by the powerful and the connected.

The Hinds County District Office to totally incapable of prosecuting such a complex case, and should ask the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, to take over the prosecution of all involved.

Anonymous said...

" Then they sprayed Lysol all over the courtroom while we walked in. "

If they sprayed it all over the floor, ya'll are lucky no one slipped down and busted their "heads wide open" as my Grandmother used to say.

That would be an interesting lawsuit.

Seems there are enough lawyers that live for such:

According to their TV ads:

For the People !
Call 222-0222 !
One call that's all !






Anonymous said...

They force you to wear a mask in the courthouse for their protection but they wont let you open carry a gun for your protection. This reeks of tyranny and hypocrisy!

They are our servants not our rulers!

Anonymous said...

So no rule that says they must be worn in all parts of the state but courthouses they must? Or did govs tater tot change the rule to statewide masks?

Nine And All Eights said...

Am I the only one who didn't know the state Supreme Court had this authority?

Anonymous said...

'They are our servants not our rulers!'

Think again.

Anonymous said...

Well done Chief Justice.

Anonymous said...

8:25 - I'm sure you're not the only one who doesn't know that the Supreme Court has authority over all the lower courts in the state. The education system around here is pitiful.

Anonymous said...

744 PM- as the CJ pointed out, it's a personal choice to take your trip to Wallyworld, or to go to the big box store of choice, but it's not a personal choice to be in the courtroom - either for the employees of the court, the lawyers, the plantiffs/defendants or the jurors.

Some counties in the state are not facing medical overruns- their hospital beds are not full, they have ICU availability. Because of these differences between Alcorn and Yazoo and all the letters in between, using discretion rather than a broad brush makes good sense for the general public activity. But when one is required by the government to be present, there is a different standard that should be applied.

Good job Chief Justice - and while we are at it, good job Governor for using good common sense and following the scientific data.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:27 - Bullshit. I had a friend in Madison County on jury duty last week who said that she was the only one in the room wearing one - not even the judge wore one. This needed to happen.

Anonymous said...

Anti-maskers:
You can holler "Constitutional Right" all you want but until the State Supreme Court first and then the Supreme Court ( who I guarantee will unanimously either rule against you having that right to endanger others or else will just not bother to overturn State rulings).

If our Constitution was intended to be literal and inflexible as some of you seem to think, our Founders wouldn't have created a Supreme Court.

I'm sure you also holler " law and order" until the law doesn't suit your limited thought pattern.

Lieutenant Tragg said...

"I'm sure you're not the only one who doesn't know that the Supreme Court has authority over all the lower courts in the state. The education system around here is pitiful.July 24, 2020 at 8:24 AM"

Authority is a matter of interpretation. Who knew the higher court could rule on such matters as decorum, dress, behavior and probably number of ceiling fans and water pitchers in all lower courts across the state? I'm quite certain the smart ass at 8:24 did.

Anonymous said...

Does the Federal Supreme Court enjoy parallel authority over federal courts? Nope.

Anonymous said...

We'll find out just how solid his authority is when Tomie Green shows up in court not wearing one. Regardless of your or my thoughts on masks, this is a bogus-based control attempt that will not fly. Is he related to Chokwe?

Anonymous said...

I was in two businesses in the past two days getting estimates for body work on vehicle. Spent at least forty minutes in each. I was the only one in either wearing a face mask. Both are in Madison County.

Anonymous said...

Here are my thoughts on the power of the Chief Justice over the courts of this state:

1. The Mississippi Constitution requires the courts of the state to remain open. Miss. Const. Art. 3, § 24, states point-blank that "All courts shall be open."

2. Judges have the inherent power to manage "their" courtroom.

3. Justice Randolph is the chief administrative officer of all courts of the state:

"The Administrative Office of Courts shall be specifically charged with the duty of assisting the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Mississippi with his duties as the chief administrative officer of all courts of this state, including without limitation the task of insuring that the business of the courts of the state is attended with proper dispatch, that the dockets of such courts are not permitted to become congested and that trials and appeals of cases, civil and criminal, are not delayed unreasonably."

Miss. Code Ann. § 9-21-3.

As chief administrative officer of all of the courts of Mississippi, Justice Randolph is responsible for ensuring that the courts stay open and continue to function, and he apparently believes that requiring masks in courtrooms will help to maintain open courts. That, I believe, is what this is about.

Anonymous said...

4:09 - You remind me of the libs on the federal supreme court offering their beliefs as to what they think the Constitution ought to say. What you've cited does not seem to extend to dress code or safety gear. What if your supreme guy should instruct that no judge shall carry a firearm inside his robe?

Anonymous said...

I’ve seen several social media posts on business pages from anti-mask folks stating they are going to claim a mask rule violates their religious freedom.

Will businesses give in to that claim?

I’ve also noticed quite a few of these same anti-mask folks also are very upset that the state flag has been taken down.

Anonymous said...

6:14 a.m.: To answer your question, if Justice Randolph ordered that "no judge shall carry a firearm inside his robe," that order would be invalid because it would be in direct conflict with Miss. Code. Ann. § 97-37-7(2), which states as follows:

"It shall not be a violation of this or any other statute for pistols, firearms or other suitable and appropriate weapons to be carried by . . . by judges of the Mississippi Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, circuit, chancery, county, justice and municipal courts . . . "

Laws are pretty neat, huh?

-4:09

Anonymous said...

July 25, 2020 at 1:17 PM wrote:

"6:14 a.m.: To answer your question, if Justice Randolph ordered that "no judge shall carry a firearm inside his robe," that order would be invalid because it would be in direct conflict with Miss. Code. Ann. § 97-37-7(2), which states as follows:

"It shall not be a violation of this or any other statute for pistols, firearms or other suitable and appropriate weapons to be carried by . . . by judges of the Mississippi Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, circuit, chancery, county, justice and municipal courts . . . "

Laws are pretty neat, huh?"

Laws ARE neat, but they must be read as written, barring any ambiguity. The cited code would not invalidate such an order by the MSSC because the it plainly states that it (merely) exempts judges who are carrying from being in violation of any statute, it does not prohibit the Supreme Court from enacting any particular rule to the lower courts over which it is the ultimate authority as to the rules of those courts. Put another way, the MSSC could prohibit judges from having a weapon on the bench while court was in session, but that judge could not be charged criminally if they chose to do so (the MSSC could discipline them for the rule violation, however).

That separation is also why the MSSC makes changes to MRCP, MRAP, etc., not the legislature, but the MSSC cannot order the legislature to pass, change, or rescind a statute (finding it unconstitutional is a different matter). If one reads many opinions from the MSSC they will find when the Court has a problem with this or that statute, it "suggests" the legislature address the issue rather than simply ordering it to make whatever change because it has no authority to issue such an order.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the Court's rule-making authority derives from the Mississippi Constitution, as acknowledged by the legislature in Miss. Code Ann. § 9-3-61.

"As a part of the judicial power granted in Article 6, Section 144, of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890, the Supreme Court has the power to prescribe from time to time by general rules the forms of process, writs, pleadings, motions, rules of evidence and the practice and procedure . . . "

Likewise, the the right to bear arms is rooted in the Mississippi Constitution: "The right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question, but the Legislature may regulate or forbid carrying concealed weapons." Miss. Const. Ann. Art. 3, § 12.

So no, I don't believe the Chief Justice could abridge the right of judges to carry firearms, when the legislature has specifically exempted them from statutory restriction, as only the legislature can restrict this right.

Anonymous said...

July 26, 2020 at 1:40 PM wrote, "Actually..."

Actually, you may want to re-read the very references you cite, and then either go to law school or take a fair amount of CE. I'm not going to argue. You are incorrect in your reading and interpretation.

Anonymous said...

8:55 p.m., I've re-read Art. 6, § 144 and the statute. I've been to law school, and I've taken a lot of CLE (but no "CE") over the last 20 years. I've also reviewed the order of the Miss. Supreme Court adopting the Miss. Rules of Civil Procedure, which reads in part as follows:

"Pursuant to the inherent authority vested in this Court by the Constitution of the State of Mississippi, as discussed in Cecil Newell, Jr. v. State of Mississippi, 308 So.2d 71 (Miss.1975) . . . "

The Newell case specifically discusses Art. 6, § 144, as the basis for the Court's rule-making authority. I find your conclusion that I am "incorrect," without explanation, to be unhelpful, and probably unfounded.

-1:40

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